Our Strategy to Protect the Freedom to Vote, Explained
Even though we ousted the Tangerine-in-Chief and Democrats have control of Congress and the White House, make no mistake — our democracy is still in grave danger.
If we don’t do something now, the situation will only get worse. Passing the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act are the first steps towards protecting our democracy and our freedom to vote. But with all the problems Congress is trying to address right now, the Senate still hamstrung by the filibuster, and Joe Manchin looming large as the most stubborn Democrat in America, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about just what our strategy is to pass them.
Republicans have always tried to make it harder to vote. Why is it such a big problem now?
There are a lot of dynamics at play, but here’s a quick overview: Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, GOP-controlled legislatures have been taking advantage of the lack of accountability to make it harder and harder to vote. Add the Big Lie into the equation this year, and GOP state legislators who are terrified of a repeat of 2020’s record voter turnout are passing voter suppression bills left and right.
If we don’t do something to stop it, it will become increasingly difficult for Americans to actually send the people they want to govern to Washington, their state capitol, or city hall. And that means it will become even more difficult to pass a progressive agenda.
But why do we need two bills?
In 2021, bills that will make voting more inaccessible have already passed in Georgia, Arizona, and Florida and we’re facing down 361 more voter suppression laws in 47 states.
That means that we not only need federal laws in place to prevent future voter suppression, but we also need the federal government to step in and do something about the laws being passed right now. Passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act would reinstate protections to stop states from suppressing the vote going forward, and passing the For the People Act would nullify many of the harmful bills state legislatures have already passed by instituting national standards for voting.
To protect every American’s freedom to vote, we need both.
But there’s so much else we need to do! Why are we pushing for democracy reform right now?
You’re right, there’s a huge progressive agenda we want to pass! Healthcare, a living wage, criminal justice reform, and climate action come to mind. But we won’t be able to pass anything if we don’t fix the looming crisis facing our democracy.
Alright, I see why this is so important. What can I do to get these bills passed?
You can give your senators a call!
Really? What’s a phone call going to do?
Making a call is one of the single most effective ways to get the attention of your elected officials. Every day, staffers in Senate offices answer calls from constituents — and every day, those calls are recorded and relayed to staffers making policy. So each and every call you make helps your senators know how high this should be on their list of urgent priorities.
What if my senator already supports this. Should I still call them?
Yes! Even if they are already on board, they need to feel so compelled to address the crisis in our democracy that they do whatever it takes to protect it — including abolishing the filibuster. We need them to feel the heat so they start putting pressure on other senators to abolish the filibuster and ultimately pass these two bills.
What about Joe Manchin?
See, I saved the best for last. Remember, Joe Manchin is just one guy. He has coworkers and those coworkers have influence — on him and on each other. There are 50 senators in the Democratic caucus in the Senate. It’s up to us to make sure that when Joe Manchin walks down the hallways or goes to a meeting, he can’t escape his colleagues haranguing him about the massive, outrageous attempt to strip voting rights away from Texans and Arizonians. And the best way to do that is to make sure that YOUR senators show up to work every day prioritizing protecting the right to vote.
Ready to take action? Make a call!