Protecting polls or destroying democracy?

Nate Henneke, Staff Writer

For as long as the United States government has been around, it has always been a democracy doing the best it can to protect our democratic ways of life. Maintaining equal access to political elections is vital if America hopes to give every citizen a voice in our government. Voter manipulation in America is nothing new, from the poll taxes of the Jim Crow era to the gerrymandering of voting districts that still goes on to this day. The latest attempt at voter manipulation comes from Texas lawmakers who are proposing a bill that may allow civilians to openly carry handguns at polls.

While there may be good intent behind allowing open carry at polling locations, more guns are not the answer to preventing gun violence. Police should be present and entirely sufficient in providing a safe, comfortable space for voters. Permitting civilians with guns can only lead to conflict and violence. Instead, our government should be able to provide enough protection to make sure every voter — regardless of their views, can feel safe when voting.

Gun violence has become a looming threat to all public areas, and polling stations are no different. Adding more guns into the equation will not provide any feeling of safety for those who are already uncomfortable with guns. This bill encourages people to bring their handguns to a place where people with opposing views from them are voting. That sounds like it could very quickly turn into a recipe for disaster if any sort of conflict were to break out at the polls. 

Providing protection for citizens of all races and political views at voting polls is at the heart of democracy, and as soon as one group feels threatened or like their voice is being silenced, democracy starts to crumble. There are much better ways that lawmakers can provide a safe voting experience without allowing civilians to openly carry handguns at polls.

Do you believe poll watchers have a right to be armed?


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