The right to vote is the cornerstone of democracy – and central for creating a just, equitable, regenerative economy that works for all.
The United States considers itself to be a leading democracy in the world. The 2020 election, which was without fraud or corruption, had a record turnout – particularly remarkable in the middle of a dangerous pandemic.
So logically, it would make sense that politicians across the US political landscape would support the right of all American citizens to vote and work to make it as easy as possible for all citizens to take part in elections.
Sadly, that is not the case.
Voting Rights at Risk
Leaders of the Republican Party at both state and national levels are actively working to suppress voters.
So far in 2021, over 30 laws in 18 states have been enacted to make it harder to vote, according to The Brennan Center for Justice.
These laws restrict mail in voting, early voting, impose harsher voter ID requirements, and will result in more voters being purged from the rolls (many incorrectly). Texas is the latest state to pass restrictive voting rights legislation, over the heroic objection of state Democrats. Additional restrictive voting laws could be put in place around the country before the end of this year.
The history of voter suppression in the US is tied to racism; in particular Jim Crow laws made it nearly impossible for many Black citizens to cast a ballot for 100 years after all Black men were given the right to vote. Additionally, even after the 19th amendment was enacted, Black women faced repeated barriers, which were purposely designed to keep them from having their vote counted.
It is therefore no surprise that Black citizens and other citizens of color, as well as working class people, people with disabilities, trans people and other marginalized genders will be disproportionately affected by the new voter restrictions. That’s why these new laws restricting voting rights are being called “The New Jim Crow.”
We Can Act to Protect Voting Rights
That’s why Green America supports the call of voting rights organizations, including Stacey Abram’s Fair Fight Action and Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote, to urge the US Congress to pass legislation to protect voting rights nationwide and to get more Americans registered to vote.
Congress has the opportunity to pass two bills, the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act that, between them, would undo many voting restrictions nationwide and would restore the Voting Rights Act and the US Justice Department’s ability to challenge unconstitutional voting restrictions, which have been gutted by the US Supreme Court.
How You Can Help
- Call Your Senators. Green America strongly supports the passage of both bills, and we urge everyone to call their US Senators through the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to urge their passage as soon as possible. The legislation needs to be in place in order to ensure a free and fair election, where all citizens can vote, in 2022.
- Get others to take action as well. Share this video from Michelle Obama and Stacey Abrams – encouraging everyone to take action for voting rights.
- Join the August 28 March On For Voting Rights marches, in DC and around the country. Join people near where you live to take a stand for voting rights!
- Volunteer with or donate to groups, such as Fair Fight Action and When We All Vote to protect voting rights and get more Americans voting!