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On Colin Kaepernick’s Decision Not to Vote

On Colin Kaepernick’s Decision Not to Vote

Colin Kaepernick, African American Vote, Black Vote, Voter Suppression, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

“I’ve been very disconnected from the systematic oppression as a whole. So, for me, it’s another face that’s going to be the face of that system of oppression. To me, it didn’t really matter who went in there. The system still remains intact that oppresses people of color.”

Colin Kaepernick is facing backlash for refusing to vote in this election, but he was hardly alone.

There is one pledge I’m making after this election: for my mental, physical, and especially political health, I’m done ingesting bullshit. I’m done with the hot-take bloviating culture—in sports and politics—that, as Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said, bears as much accountability for the absurdity of Donald Trump’s being president as anything else.

A great example of this could be seen in the response to Colin Kaepernick’s comments about the election. For those who missed it, the anthem-protesting 49ers quarterback said he wasn’t voting, explaining it this way:

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the height of the Civil Rights Movement on August 6, 1965, and Congress later amended the Act five times to expand its protections. Designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Act secured voting rights for racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Act is considered to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted in the country.

The Act contains numerous provisions that regulate election administration. The Act’s “general provisions” provide nationwide protections for voting rights. Section 2 is a general provision that prohibits every state and local government from imposing any voting law that results in discrimination against racial or language minorities. Other general provisions specifically outlaw literacy tests and similar devices that were historically used to disenfranchise racial minorities.

The Act also contains “special provisions” that apply to only certain jurisdictions. A core special provision is the Section 5 preclearance requirement, which prohibits certain jurisdictions from implementing any change affecting voting without receiving preapproval from the U.S. Attorney General or the U.S. District Court for D.C. that the change does not discriminate against protected minorities. Another special provision requires jurisdictions containing significant language minority populations to provide bilingual ballots and other election materials.

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