With Senate Republicans blocking the voting rights bill, the people must vote no matter what, and when they do, they must remember who tried tried to stop them. There is only one solution to voter suppression: Voting -- no matter the roadblocks the Republicans try to impose.
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Senate Republicans' action on June 22, stonewalling efforts to even consider voting rights legislation, makes it clear the GOP believes it is doomed unless it can suppress the right to vote by those who oppose their agenda.
"Once again, the Senate Republican minority has launched a partisan blockade of a pressing issue here in the United States Senate," declared Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), "an issue no less fundamental than the right to vote."
“Senate Republicans opposed even a debate — even considering — legislation to protect the right to vote and our democracy. It was the suppression of a bill to end voter suppression — another attack on voting rights that is sadly not unprecedented,” said President Biden following the vote.
President Biden and the Democrats vow that the fight isn't over, and many are calling for an end to the arcane Senate filibuster rule that allows the minority to block passage of most legislation unless 60 votes can be found. With the Senate evenly split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the deciding vote, that 60 vote margin is virtually impossible to achieve.
Yes, that rule should be scrapped. It has already resulted in defeat of legislation to set up an independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection, and now it's sounded what is probably the death knell to the Democrats' voting rights initiative. But, despite those defeats, some Democrats oppose eliminating that roadblock. And Biden isn't crazy about the idea.
The People Must Act
So, the message to voters is clear. It is up to you.
When the mid-term elections come in November 2022, exercise your right to vote. That is the only solution to voter suppression. No matter how long you must stand in line; no matter the inconvenience. Don't let anything stop you. Vote. And when you do, remember who is responsible for making your constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote as difficult as possible.
Ironically, the Senate's voter suppression vote occurred the day before it was reported by The Washington Post that some 28 states across the country have passed new laws this year that make it easier to vote. That's in sharp contrast to restrictions enacted by some GOP-controlled states, like Georgia and Florida that have pandered to Donald Trump's false claims of widespread voter fraud.
Reported The Post:
The newly enacted laws in states from Vermont to California expand access to the voting process on a number of fronts, such as offering more early and mail voting options, protecting mail ballots from being improperly rejected and making it easier to register to vote.
Some states restored voting rights to people with past felony convictions or expanded options for voters with disabilities, both long-standing priorities among advocates. And in Virginia, a new law requires localities to receive preapproval or feedback on voting changes as a shield against racial discrimination, a first for states after the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the federal Voting Rights Act in 2013.
The Post quoted Liz Avore, vice president for law and policy with the nonpartisan Voting Rights Lab, which tracks developments in state election law and analyzed this year’s legislative action in a report last week.
“There’s a fault line that’s developing between states working to strengthen our democracy and states actively restricting it,” Avore said. “It is stark when you look at the map … That division is really remarkable.”
The Voting Rights Lab's report indicates that the trend is not limited to blue states, although they have led the charge.
For example, Indiana and Kentucky have expanded the availability of ballot drop-off locations and set up ways for voters to correct errors that would otherwise invalidate their mail ballots. At least four red states created systems for voters to track their ballots through the mail. Louisiana eliminated hurdles for people with past felony convictions as they register to vote. Montana made voting more accessible for people with disabilities, even as it ended same-day voter registration, reported The Post.
GOP: Unforced Errors
Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, a Republican who fought for his state’s policy changes, offered what probably is the best advice given to the Republican Party regarding voting suppression.
The GOP, he told The Post, must “stop being scared of voters.”
“Let them vote, and go out and make the case,” he said. “I want Republicans to succeed. I think it’s an unforced error to shoot themselves in the foot in these states by shrinking access. You don’t need to do that.”
In other words, Republicans are imposing "solutions" to problems that do not exist, all because of their loyalty to, or fear of, Donald J. Trump.
Adams is right. Let the parties and the candidates, make their case. Then, let the voters decide at the polls. That's what democracy is all about.
Again, it begs the question for Mitch McConnell and the national GOP:
What are you afraid of?