On Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, the Alabama State Police spared no activists — not even the women — on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. They, too, were knocked to the ground, trampled by horses and struck by batons, just like the men — all for standing for the rights of African Americans to vote.
Discrimination against older voters is a focus of a trial in federal court this month over a strict voter ID law in Texas. Although the challenge to the 2011 law chiefly targets its impact on racial minorities, the opening of the case in Corpus Christi featured elderly witnesses who complained that the new requirements impose undue logistical and financial burdens on them.
These days we're rarely shocked when we learn that a politician has enjoyed lavish benefits at public expense or found some way to exploit public office for personal gain. That makes all the more remarkable the story of former U.S. Rep. Andrew "Andy" Jacobs Jr. (D-Ind.), who during his three decades in Congress declined to accept the monthly disability payments to which he was entitled for his injuries in combat as a Marine during the Korean War.
In two decisions this term, the Supreme Court has changed the political landscape on voting rights. Reaction to the court's latest decision, in Shelby County v. Holder, ranged from outrage ("Supremes Gut Voting Rights Act" at Huffington Post) to just-the-facts-ma'am ("Supreme Court voids key part of Voting Rights Act because law uses data 'that does not reflect racial progress in U.S.'" at NYPost.com).
You may feel energized and passionate about the 2012 election, but that enthusiasm isn't going to have much impact if you don't actually cast a vote. Here are some tips on how to make sure that you make a personal impact on the nation's future.
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