Editor, The Messenger,
There are now well over 250 bills in 43 states to restrict and suppress voting rights. These bills generally feed into a dangerous lie that the last election was “stolen.” That accusation was thoroughly examined in 61 courtrooms, many by Trump appointed judges and shot down. Nevertheless, people heard what they wanted to hear, fears were stoked and we saw on Jan 6 the tragic results. The politicizing of that process cost many people their lives. There was a push back against absentee voting, and limitations on drop boxes, the very measures designed to tamp down on the spread of COVID-19.
Not surprising given the history of racism in our country, there is a correlation between those who will be most affected by these proposed bills, and neighborhoods with a large percentage of People of Color. For example, in the traffic congested metropolis of Atlanta, drop boxes are likely to decrease from 94 to fewer than 25. It also becomes illegal to give a voter waiting in line a snack or water. Too bad, so sad for the 80-year-old diabetic, or the mother with three tired children at the seventh hour and still waiting. If you can’t imagine the countless scenarios of people giving up and going home, check your white privilege.
Meanwhile dark money in politics prevails. The Citizen’s United ruling equating corporate donations as “freedom of speech” has allowed billionaires to influence elections. However, this past week several Georgia corporations have made business decisions, in protest of the passing of this unethical election law. They are taking a gamble that it will not hurt their companies, determined to elevate democracy over profit. Mitch McConnell has spoken up against those businesses, yet he alone has benefited the most from millions of dollars donated by the 1%. You can’t have it both ways, Mitch!
Our saving grace is the For the People’s Act, which shores up the basic tenets of democratic elections in several ways: strengthens elections security and ensures voting is easier not harder, curbs gerrymandering, and limits the influence of corporate lobbyists. It is a popular bill with people from both parties, but the days of bi-partisan collaboration, compromise, and coming together continues to elude the nation. That’s where you come in!
Please call Senator Portman: 614-469-67740, and Senator Brown: 614-469-20830, to urge them to vote for this bill that would ensure all citizens have the right to vote.