Voting is at the very heart of democracy.
As Jean Alia Robles of Project Vote tells us, “ As long as people are given the chance to vote, … then democracy is working.” Restricting voter access “is like giving a hungry person bread, but sealed in a steel box. A society that makes voting hard for people is a pretentious democratic society.”
“A government that is truly democratic ensures that its laws do not discriminate nor discourage people from voting, especially those belonging to underrepresented communities of color, young people, seniors, or low-income people. The government should legislate laws that make voting much easier for all citizens, particularly those whose voices are often unheard in the halls of government offices.”
In spite of federal efforts by Democrats to expand voting access under the proposed For the People Act, Republican-controlled legislatures across the country are rapidly writing laws imposing limits on voting. The conservative Heritage Action for America group detailed proposals for rolling back access to voting in Georgia and many other states with Republican-controlled legislatures. The Georgia effort alone produced 23 bills rooted in their principles. Their efforts include limitations of who can vote by mail, preventing ballot collection, banning drop boxes, enacting stricter voter ID laws, restricting early voting and providing greater access to partisan election observers. This group is spending $24 million across eight states (including Wisconsin) to influence people to support these restrictive measures, billed as “election integrity” measures. Many in this group are veterans of the #stopthesteal movement that still does not accept the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
Luckily, the vast majority of Americans agree with Jean Alia Robles. But, we must all become involved in this issue and make our voices heard in every legislature considering restricting voter access.
The broad range of polls on the subject show that 78% of Americans support at least two weeks early in person voting. 70% support people voting after completing prison sentences. 68% support making Election Day a holiday, and 61% even support having automatic registration to vote. These are not numbers that Republicans want to hear. These are numbers that recognize voting really is at the heart of our democracy, and essential for its survival.