The right to vote — the very cornerstone of our democracy — is under attack.
Ever since 2013, when the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, we’ve seen a slew of propositions and laws passed in states and municipalities making it harder for people to vote.
Almost over night after the Shelby County v. Holder ruling, a number of states introduced measures that required specific government-issued forms of identification to vote, reduced early voting and registration periods, and purged voter rolls. Proponents of these measures claimed they were put into place to prevent voter fraud. But time and again, studies have shown that voter suppression measures disproportionately impact minority, young, elderly, low-income, and disabled voters. Indeed, as some GOP supporters of these measures have confessed, the entire purpose is to win elections by changing the electorate.
And while there have been occasional instances of voter registration fraud, the illegal casting of ballots has been almost nonexistent. In short, the claim of voter fraud is a ruse to deny legitimate citizens of their franchise.
That is unacceptable.
Last month, federal courts struck down voter suppression measures in three states, Wisconsin, Texas, and North Carolina. In a case in North Carolina, the court explicitly stated that measures enacted targeted African Americans with ‘surgical precision’ in an attempt to disenfranchise voters.
On the heels of the fiftieth anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, which culminated in the passing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, these new measures have particular resonance. Civil rights activists marched and died for the right to vote. To think that in this day and age, African Americans and other minorities have to fight again for their right to vote is appalling. And at a time when voter turnout is at the lowest it has been in modern history, we should be doing everything we can to make voting easier, not harder. We should be expanding provisions that make it possible to vote by mail and register to vote online, and extend early voting periods. We must restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act.
The right to vote is sacred.
If you are not registered to vote, register right now at vote.gov. If you have friends or family that have yet to register, share this message with them right now. There is simply too much at stake to avoid our civic responsibility and not vote.
As always, please feel free to share your thoughts on the matter with me. Your opinion means a great deal. And do not hesitate to contact me or my office should you have any questions on how to register to vote or where to find your polling place.
Remember, don’t lament — just vote!
Member of Congress
28th Congressional District