House Republican Calls Voting Rights A ‘Loaded Gun’ That Should Only Belong To Property Owners

House Republican Calls Voting Rights A 'Loaded Gun' That Should Only Belong To Property Owners

Florida GOP Rep. Ted Yoho let the cat out of the bag on the possible endgame Republicans are planning with voting rights – eliminate them for anybody but those able to own land. Image by John M. Fletcher @ FloridaTrend

Republicans are hell bent on slashing voting rights across the country. From incredibly restrictive voter ID laws to the cutting of early voting to the gutting of the Voting Right Act, GOP lawmakers have literally made it easier for Americans to buy a gun than to exercise their right to vote. And it appears that they aren’t done yet.

Florida GOP Rep. Ted Yoho let the cat out of the bag on the possible endgame Republicans are planning with voting rights. In a video recorded in 2012, Yoho told a crowd of constituents that absentee voting is more dangerous than a “loaded gun.”

“I can’t remember which founding father said it, but he said, the ability to vote, but vote uninformed is as tragic or as dangerous as having a loaded gun and not know how to use it,” Yoho said during a campaign stop in Berean Baptist Church in Ocala, Florida in the midst of the 2012 Election.

He then bragged about how early voting has been cut in the state he supposedly represents and expressed his desire to see it destroyed entirely.

“I think it needs to be cut less than that,” Yoho declared. Rather than a right, “it’s a privilege to vote,” he said. “Yeah, it may be inconvenient. But, you know, it’s like I tell people and I was told growing up: To be successful is inconvenient. If not, everybody would be successful.”

In the end, Yoho took a final stab at showing his hatred of voting and revealed his contempt of poor people by endorsing an extreme future in which only property owners are able to vote.

“I’ve had some radical ideas about voting and it’s probably not a good time to tell them, but you used to have to be a property owner to vote.”

Here’s the video via Raw Story.

Yoho’s belief that voting should be restricted to only property owners is yet another backward idea from the Republican Party. It goes back to a time when women could not vote and African-Americans were considered the property of white men. Is Yoho suggesting a return to these aspects as well? It also works in tandem with GOP calls to repeal the 17th Amendment, which guarantees the direct election of senators by the people instead of partisan state legislatures.

Allowing only property owners to vote would devastate an already weak voter turnout in this country. Only 57 percent of registered voters actually voted in 2012. 19 percent of those voters were under 30. By “property owner,” let’s assume that Yoho means “homeowner.” The average age of a first time homeowner is 30-32, and that number is rising. Young Americans are having a harder time in this economy. They have massive student loan debts and not a lot of jobs waiting for them upon graduation. Sure, many take minimum wage jobs at places like Walmart and McDonald’s, but such low wages aren’t nearly enough to afford a house. Not today anyway. So, young people have had to resort to renting or living with their parents longer. In short, restricting voting rights to property owners will negatively impact people under 30 the most.

The loss of voting rights would especially sting for members of the US military considering the average age of military personnel is between 25-30 years old. Marines would be particularly affected since their average age is 25. As the Nashville Scene put it in 2010 when Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips brought up the idea,

“It is a frivolous proposal designed to stoke intergenerational antagonism — as if the people who are older and can afford a home are somehow better citizens than the 18-year-olds who are going off to war to die for our country.”

That is precisely the whole point. Property owners are not better citizens than anyone else. Everyone in this country should be allowed to vote, no matter their age, color, gender, income bracket or financial ability. Republicans are obsessing with this idea simply because younger people and minorities are more unlikely to own homes. Since young people and minorities are more likely to vote for Democrats, stripping them of their right to vote via property restrictions would literally steal elections for Republicans. That’s what Florida Rep. Ted Yoho and conservatives want. And the only way to stop them from killing voting rights is to get out and vote against them at every opportunity, the first of which occurs in November later this year.