Students rally to Capitol for voting rights

A new campaign, No Vote No Voice, began with a rally in front of the Capitol on Friday.

Roughly two weeks ago, Florida A&M, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College students merged to create this campaign in response to last month’s 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.

Section 4, created in 1965 after Congress recognized that voters were being discriminated against in some states, allowed the attorney general to certify specified jurisdictions, which were accompanied by federal examines. It also suspended “a test or device,” which is any requirement a person has a prerequisite to voting or registration.

Doug Martin, a political legislature director of AFSCME Florida, believes Election Day should be a holiday, which would give people the opportunity to vote on Election Day without fear of missing work.

Martin doesn’t believe the removal of Section 4 is moving the country in the right direction. He said it’s not just minorities’ voting rights at risk, but the working people’s, too.

“It’s an attack on working people, on students [and] on seniors,” Martin said.

Lucas Melton, state coordinator of the Black Youth Black Vote Initiative, participated during the march to demonstrate to representatives his disapproval of the Supreme Court’s decision. He believes by eliminating Section 4, it will no longer regulate states for voter discrimination or fraud. Melton encourages everyone to get involve to protect their rights as citizens.

“Democracy is not where you live,” Melton said. “Democracy is what you do.”

Cecelia O’Brien, an FSU alumna, participated in the rally as well. O’Brien researched voter’s suppression and discovered the struggles Floridians are facing.

“Voter’s suppression is still happening, and to be told that it’s not is just a slap in the face,” she said.