This week marks the 47th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination in voting and has been instrumental in ensuring citizens' voting rights are protected from nefarious election laws.
In Tennessee and other states, we have seen laws enacted which have the potential to undermine this vital law. Voter photo ID laws were considered in 34 states in 2011 alone, yet an estimated 11 percent of the population does not have the type of identification required by many of these laws. Especially impacted are the elderly, people with disabilities, low-income voters and young people.
These new voting laws and requirements are unnecessary and costly. Numerous studies have found that of the rare examples of voting irregularities, almost none are the kind that could be prevented by a photo identification law. And putting new voting laws and requirements in place is expensive. Is this really how we want to spend our already stretched-too-thin state budget?
This election is really important. We are not just voting for the president, we are voting for education, health care and our community. Everyone else is voting, and so should you.
Be sure to visit www.Vote411.org for all the election information you need ,and share it.
MARGIE PARSLEY, President, League of Women Voters of Tennessee, Nashville
Last year, more than 168,000 cases of cancer were diagnosed in African-Americans, and more than 65,000 African-Americans died last year from cancer.
The American Cancer Society is committed to eliminating cancer as a major health problem for all people, and ACS-funded research has resulted in major breakthroughs in cancer prevention and treatment. However, African-Americans still have a higher cancer mortality rate nationwide than any other racial or ethnic group.
This year, African-Americans in Chattanooga have an opportunity to participate in the American Cancer Society's third Cancer Prevention Study (CPS-3) at various locations across the city Aug. 21-25.
If you are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study (which involves completing surveys at home periodically over the next 20-30 years), are between the ages of 30 and 65 years old, and have never been diagnosed with cancer, then you are eligible to enroll in this important study.
Your involvement in CPS-3 could unlock the answer to no one - in any racial or ethnic group - having to hear the words "you have cancer."
Visit cps3chattanooga.org for more details on the study and to reserve your appointment time today.
JAMES McKISSIC, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga
In response to the Times editorial "ACA benefits keep coming" (Aug. 5) and to the person who wrote a letter to the editor "Health act brings benefits to women" (Aug. 6), you certainly have heard of the saying, "there is no such thing as a free lunch." You seem to think that all these new benefits for women, expanding quality care, and more insurance coverage, etc., are going to be at no costs to anyone.
Why, then, does my and my wife's private medical insurance premiums continue to increase each year from 15 to 20 percent, particularly since we are healthy and hardly go to the doctor? Guess who is paying for all these new medical benefits? You're welcome.
ROBIN HITNER, Rock Spring, Ga.
"Restore felons' voting rights"? (Editorial, Aug. 6). You have to be kidding. I agree with the way the law stands about not letting rehabilitated felons vote. There has to be a deterrent for committing a felony crime. Prison is one and losing the right to vote for life is another. Rehabilitated or not.
In response to all the liberals who want to regulate our gun rights: I say if just one person had been armed that horrible night in Aurora, things might have turned out differently.
DENNIS BROWN, Cloudland, Ga.
Despite what the Chattanooga Times has called a "partisan effort by Republican legislators ... to suppress voter turnout by implementing extremely questionable voter ID requirements," it is important to know that if you are a registered voter and are either 60-plus years old or a person with disabilities, you do "not" need a government-issued ID card in order to vote in the November election!
You may exercise your right to vote by requesting an absentee ballot from the Hamilton County Election Commission by calling 423-493-5101 or by going online to elect.hamiltontn.gov. In this way, you can avoid being disenfranchised by those who would make it difficult for many citizens to exercise their right to vote.
Hamilton County PTA and United Way need your help to "Stuff the Bus"! Forty-four percent of Hamilton County public school students qualify for the free and reduced lunch program and don't have resources for school supplies. Public school teachers, on average, spend $1,200 a year out of pocket to help.
All donations will go to the Hamilton County PTA Teacher Supply Depot, where any Hamilton County public school teacher who is a PTA member can shop for free.
Top 5 Ways to "Stuff the Bus!"
If your organization could donate or collect school supplies, please contact United Way.
Friday, Aug. 10, bring one new, unopened school supply to Lake Winnepesaukah, and you can purchase unlimited rides for $19, and popcorn and Cokes for 25 cents.
On Aug. 14-18, bring one new, unopened school supply to the Chattanooga Lookouts and get a buy one, get one general admission ticket.
Buy and/or drop off school supplies at any Walgreens or Publix in Hamilton County.
On Sunday, Aug. 19, bring school supplies to the Chattanooga Market and help us "Stuff the Bus" on Live United Day!
Visit LiveUnitedChattanooga.org/StuffTheBus for more information.
SCOTTIE GOODMAN SUMMERLIN, Signal Mountain
When it was erroneously reported that the Affordable Care Act had failed, there was wild celebration by the pea party GOP. That would be very much as if scientists had just related that a strand of deadly disease was spreading with no possible cure. Yippee, let's all cheer!
Every Republican says they are going to try to repeal "Obamacare." They won't attempt to fix the health- care problem. They would go back to the same old broken system of higher spiraling costs and less actual health care. How can so many Americans be so insanely brainwashed and continue to vote for these hateful GOP politicians? It is totally beyond belief.
When polls ask people about each individual part of "Americare," every single part gets a favorable response. They have no idea what it actually is, and how could they? They're constantly being fed the crazy "Obamacare is bad" by the right-wing hate machine!
Republicans know that if "Americare" is fully implemented, people will realize how much they have been lied to. It will be overwhelmingly popular. Remember, it was the Democratic Party that also gave us Social Security and Medicare, which Republicans would gleefully dismantle!
WALTER M. BENTON, Signal Mountain