“If your vote didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be trying so hard to take it away from you.” — Samuel L. Jackson
There is an old saying in politics, usually mis-attributed to Joseph Stalin: “It’s not the vote who counts, but who counts the votes.” Despite the baseless claims of Donald Trump’s post-election rampage of lies and misinformation regarding election results, a cynical project of bad faith that culminated in a bloody riot at the Capitol on January 6, American elections are actually secure and accurately reflected voter preferences. Nevertheless, the made-up outrage over “election fraud” is not only is not going away, GOP lawmakers are still pressing home the fiction that American elections cannot be trusted. The industrious researchers at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York are keeping tabs on voting restriction efforts afoot in a majority of states. The results are not pretty.
Voter suppression, of course, is nothing new and has an old and ugly history in the United States, dating to Reconstruction and the associated racial terror immediately after the Civil War aimed at maintaining white supremacy at the ballot box. The effort to deny full voting rights is still with us and is in full flower a statehouses across the nation.
It is one of the oddities of American politics that elections, even for federal offices like the Presidency, are not governed by federal law but by a hodgepodge of 50 state laws, subject to the whims of state lawmakers. That’s why it is so important to pass H.R. 1, a federal bill now in Congress will help protect voters throughout the U.S. and help prevent partisans from playing games with the single most important part of a democratic republic: the right of the people to have their vote count and to be free of interference in the process of casting that choice.
Write, call, text or e-mail your representative in Congress to voice your support of H.R. 1., the “For the People Act of 2021.” When it comes to voting and suffrage that came at the expense of people’s lives, don’t let your franchise be stolen from you. Use it or lose it.