In a strong and robust democracy, all citizens can cast their vote without impediment. Our country is at its best when it expands the right to vote, not making it harder. Once a nation in which only white landowning men could vote, through the tireless efforts of countless Americans, history finally bent toward justice. In 1965, America slowly began to fulfill her promise. Now we see a dangerous effort to repeal those hard-fought gains and risk sliding back to a sad past.
Elected officials who cast aspersions on the legitimacy of elections erode our democratic process and freedom. By making baseless allegations of fraud, then pushing for more restrictive voting laws, these individuals can’t believe in democracy for all. By delegitimizing elections that have been legitimately won, they undermine the validity of their own electoral victories. This divides us as a nation.
Last year at least 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting, and now more than 440 bills with provisions to restrict voting access or make it harder to vote have been introduced to now include Virginia. One hundred eighty bills shifting election authority have been introduced, giving partisan actors power to control election outcomes. This is unconscionable.
We need laws that strengthen our right to vote, not diminish our participation. Passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act would not repair the damage done to our democracy, but it would be a good first step. Who among us does not believe in that?