Time to Wake Up and Pass the For the People Act

The rhetoric surrounding the sanctity of our right to vote has been discussed in every information silo imaginable over the course of the last several years. I have heard from many of my constituents that they feel disoriented and exhausted from the constant barrage encompassing a right that simply cannot be taken for granted. Choosing who represents us at all levels of government is a privilege that has been denied to many, and while the thought of it being revoked from us seems too daunting to comprehend, we nonetheless have reached a critical juncture in our democracy.

The perpetual fight to save our democracy will be taken to Washington, D.C this week as state legislators from throughout the country, along with voting rights advocates, will demand that the Senate and President Joe Biden act now to protect voting rights. State legislators will kick off the Week of Action on Tuesday, Aug. 3 with a “Recess Can Wait - Our Democracy Can’t” rally featuring a lineup of elected officials calling on Congress to put the August recess on hold until the “For the People Act” is passed. In conjunction with this rally, state legislators will also take part in a series of events and meetings with federal lawmakers throughout the week to underscore the urgent need to pass federal legislation protecting the right to vote before the end of summer and undo anti-voter state laws in time for the 2022 midterm elections. 

State legislatures throughout the country, including here in Pennsylvania, have taken substantial and concrete actions to suppress voter participation with surgical precision. Make no mistake, this is a well-coordinated effort to diminish voting participation in our brown and Black communities. The restrictive use of drop boxes, shortening the window to register to vote, barriers to applying for mail-in ballots and submitting those mail-in ballots only begins to scratch the surface of the explicit measures targeting marginalized groups.

Sixty-five years ago, during the height of the Cold War, Russia’s Communist leader, Nikita Khrushchev, said, “We do not have to invade the U.S. We will destroy you from within.” It is not an exaggeration to suggest that we have entered a new Cold War, although not with a foreign adversary, but with ourselves through eviscerating voting mechanisms that work for all and promoting ones that work for a select few.

If we continue down this dangerous path, while simultaneously pulling further away from our ideological center upon which our great nation was founded, we will no longer have the honor of addressing our governmental grievances through the ballot box because we will have failed in this great experiment 245 years in the making. We cannot and will not allow this to happen.

The alarm has been piercingly wailing from sea to shining sea and we must pull together as a nation and awake to these realities before it is too late.