Today, in a new op-ed from the Boston Globe, American Bridge 21st Century Co-Chair Gov. Deval Patrick outlined the importance of passing the Freedom To Vote Act and highlighted how it prevents Republicans from “undercutting the right to vote” – a strategy they have employed for decades.
According to Gov. Patrick, Republicans have “rammed through 34 laws in 19 states to make it harder to register, stay registered, and cast a ballot.” However, members of the U.S. Senate have “a chance to right these wrongs” with voting rights legislation that tears down GOP erected barriers and upholds “the efforts, struggles, and sacrifices that Americans have endured for centuries to treat the vote as sacred.”
The Boston Globe Opinion: Voting is sacred
By: Gov. Deval Patrick | January 13th, 2022
- “In America, we have no official religion, but there is nonetheless a civic faith. Because we are organized around ideals of liberty and justice for all, not geography, culture, or religion like other countries, keeping our civic faith means serving those ideals. Voting is how we keep that faith. We choose who will govern us because freedom means nothing without having a say in who makes the rules. Voting is sacred.”
- “In his famous 1957 ‘Give Us the Ballot’ speech, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. discussed the “sacred right” to vote and the power it holds to elect leaders, protect freedoms, and shape public policy. ‘Give us the ballot, and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights,’ King proclaimed from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.”
- “Undercutting the right to vote has been a strategy of Republicans for decades. Hyper-partisan gerrymandering so candidates pick their voters, weakening limits on money in politics, purging registration lists of eligible voters, moving polling places or limiting voting hours, denying the vote to former felons even after they have served their time (and in the case of Florida, even after Floridians voted to end that practice), gutting the Voting Rights Act — all of it and more has been core to Republican pathways to power. When you add it up, it’s as if the GOP has decided it can’t win a fair fight.”
- “The Big Lie is the latest tactic. Fueled by disinformation online and in media, despite zero evidence of widespread voter fraud and multiple recounts, many Republicans, including in Congress, spread the false narrative that President Biden did not win the last election fair and square. Relying on these lies, Republican state lawmakers around the country have introduced more than 440 bills and rammed through 34 laws in 19 states to make it harder to register, stay registered, and cast a ballot. Many of them authorize Republican partisans to overrule an election outcome they don’t like.”
- “Congress has a chance to right these wrongs. The Freedom to Vote Act would allow for same-day registration and automatic voter registration when a citizen turns 18. It would make voting more convenient, whether by mail or early, for those who cannot get to the polls during normal hours. It would restore voting rights to individuals who have been incarcerated and served their time, prevent partisan gerrymandering, and protect against voter intimidation.”
- “Whether the right to vote remains sacred depends now on members of the US Senate. The people have expressed their support. The House of Representatives, along partisan lines, has voted its approval. Now democracy waits.”
- “I hope senators, whatever their party, remember that the right to vote is the pathway to freedom itself. I hope that, when it comes time to debate the bill, they stop hiding behind the filibuster or other barriers of their own making. I hope when they consider its merits, they realize that the proposed legislation before them is not just the result of efforts to refine and compromise many different proposals, but also the efforts, struggles, and sacrifices that Americans have endured for centuries to treat the vote as sacred — and freedom as possible. And I hope they hurry. Because democracy is waiting.”
- “As Dr. King said so eloquently 65 years ago: ‘The hour is late. The clock of destiny is ticking out. We must act now, before it is too late.’”
Read the full op-ed here.