It hasn’t been a good week for those of us fighting for voting rights.
First, Joe Manchin came out in opposition to the For The People Act, writing an op-ed in a West Virginia newspaper. That man’s insistence on working in a bipartisan manner with a party who is on the warpath to destroy voting rights is not something I comprehend.
Then yesterday, Mitch McConnell came out in opposition to the John Lewis Voting Advancement Act, or HR4, which is actually a voting rights bill that even Manchin supports.
Of course we all expect McConnell to be an obstructionist but today what’s getting my goat is not just how he lies but how he gaslights Americans, too. He claimed that “it’s illegal to discriminate in voting based on race already.” Oh, but Mitch. You and I both know that states are doing exactly this explicitly.
HR4 specifically sets out to replace the portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that landmark piece of civil rights legislation, that the Supreme Court gutted. You can read my short explanation of what the Supreme Court did HERE but essentially, states with a history of discriminating against voters based on race had to pre-clear any changes to their voting rules or laws with the Department of Justice before implementing them.
Right after SCOTUS torpedoed that part of the Act, data shows that the states that had been in preclearance shut down 20% more polling places than states that weren’t in preclearance. (source) And McConnell knows all this. But he’s perfectly fine to gaslight the American public and calmly lie to us all about what’s actually happening in the states when it comes to voting.
All that to say, I am continuing to pressure my Senators to get HR4 passed. Not only has Manchin signed on, but he’s got Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on board as well. Which is significant, because Alaska has been under preclearance in the past.
I encourage you to do the same with your Senators. You can reference THIS POST for more details about what the bill would do in your calls/emails. Thank you for taking action!
P.S. There was one piece of good news on the voting rights front, though. The governor of Vermont signed into law a bill that will send mail-in ballots automatically to all registered voters for general elections! They become the 7th state to enact such a bill.