Federal Bill Combats Voter Suppression
For the People Act seeks to assure that all people have an equal right to vote.
On January 6th, we all watched as right-wing extremists, spurred on by one of the most divisive presidents in the history of the United States, attempted to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election by attacking the U.S. Capitol, and attempting to thwart the certification of the Electoral College vote.
Fortunately, they failed then. But many of these groups and other dangerous threats to our democracy persist.
Most state legislatures are just weeks into their latest legislative session, but in dozens of states, like here in Wisconsin, some legislators are taking direct aim at voting rights and promoting voter suppression. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, there are already 165 pending bills across 33 states aimed at restricting voting access. And it goes without saying that Black and brown voters would be most affected by these restrictions.
Here in Wisconsin, Legislative Republicans are already pushing several measures that would make it more difficult to vote absentee, to access local ballot drop boxes, create barriers to voting at nursing homes, and intimidate nursing home workers from assisting voters at their facilities, among other voter suppression tactics.
That’s why it’s especially urgent that we strengthen our democracy now by urging all members of our Congressional delegation to support the For the People Act, a comprehensive set of critical reforms. The Act has the support of Senator Tammy Baldwin and Reps. Ron Kind, Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan. In 2019 it passed in the House, but died in Mitch McConnell’s Senate. It just passed in the House, and has a real chance of passing in the Senate.
The For the People Act works to repair some of the many cracks in our democratic infrastructure created by year after year of attempts to limit voter access to the pools. These attacks on our democratic values have caused real damage that the For the People Act will begin to repair. It prohibits some of the most common voter suppression tools, like gerrymandering, and restrictive voter ID laws like we’ve been subjected to in Wisconsin.
Not only that, Wisconsin has seen a parade of voter suppression tools put into action, such as discriminatory voter ID laws, voter roll purges, and dramatic cuts in early voting opportunities. Most recently, in the weeks prior to November’s presidential election, the same voter-suppression advocates in our state legislature managed to beat back efforts to extend mail and online registration, as well as the deadlines for absentee ballots, in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
The damage to our democracy, our communities, and our progressive Wisconsin culture has been severe. Some leaders seem content to replace our optimistic and inclusive motto of “Forward” with “Backward.”
We cannot allow this to continue in Wisconsin or anywhere else.
In November, voters across America and Wisconsin turned out at historic levels to elect change-makers up and down the ballot. Now, we can build a better, stronger democracy where the people, not special interests, guide decision-making, and where every American is given an equal opportunity to have their voice heard.
But the window of opportunity to make this change happen at the national level is closing.
We urge Senators Baldwin and Johnson to seize this opportunity to do something good for Wisconsinites and all Americans in supporting the For the People Act. We can build a stronger, healthier democracy. Let’s get it done.