“Aw, you done messed up now!” Do you remember hearing these words when the playground bully went too far, and his/her victim turned red with anger and went nuts and beat up the bully? That is how I feel right now. The shenanigans down in Georgia and dozens of other states to flat-out stop folks from voting have me ready to fight anyone trying to stop folks from voting like they are the playground bully or a junkyard dog. The ‘good news’ is they are not even trying to hide anymore. We all know it is easier to fight an enemy you can see. They are in plain sight, their tactics are in plain view, and the pathway to defeating them is coming into focus.
However, too many Americans are unbothered or not bothered enough to act. Maybe the overreach of power-hungry and racist politicians will FINALLY make folks that have been asleep wake-up and pay attention. But just in case, Sisters, arm yourselves with the facts and take action today to stop the wave of voter suppression laws making their way around the country.
First, the bad and the ugly. According to the Brennan Center, as of March 24th, legislators in 47 states have introduced 361 bills that in one way or another would restrict the right to vote. You have probably heard about Georgia, but did you know that the legislature in Iowa made it harder to vote by absentee ballot, reduces the early voting period by nine days, and requires polls to close an hour earlier than before. They did this in Iowa where Black folks are only 3% of the voters. If they will do this kind of foolishness in Iowa, we don’t have a single thing coming in states like North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania where we account for at least 10% of eligible voters.
If you want to see details on how these voter suppression bills are unfolding across the nation, you can click to see: restrictive bills enacted into law, restrictive bills that are moving, expansive bills enacted into law, and expansive bills that are moving.
The bottom line, there are SERIOUS efforts underway to make sure that people of color, low-income folks, women, young people, and basically anyone not down with preserving white men in power, have a HARD time voting. So, what can you do?
Sisters, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to make some noise about the For the People Act. We MUST raise our voices to get this bill passed in the United States Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the For The People Act (H.R. 1) on March 3rd. The bill is now in the hands of the U.S. Senate where it faces significant opposition.
What is the For the People Act?
The folks over at Common Cause have done a great job outlining what is included in the For The People Act. Here is what they say the law would do to protect the right to vote:
Protect and expand voting rights and election security:
- Automatic voter registration
- Online voter registration
- Same-day voter registration
- Make election day a federal holiday
- Voting rights restoration to people with prior felony convictions
- Expand early voting and simplify absentee voting
- Prohibit voter purges that kick eligible voters off the registration rolls
- Enhance election security with increased support for a paper-based voting system and more oversight over election vendors
- End partisan gerrymandering by established independent redistricting commissions
- Prohibit providing false information about the elections process that discourage voting and other deceptive practices
Reduce the influence of big money in our politics:
- Require secret money organizations that spend money in elections to disclose their donors
- Upgrade online political spending transparency rules to ensure voters know who is paying for the advertisements they see
- Create a small donor-focused public financing matching system so candidates for Congress aren’t just reliant on big-money donors to fund their campaigns and set their priorities
- Strengthen oversight rules to ensure those who break our campaign finance laws are held accountable
- Overhaul the Federal Election Commission to enforce campaign finance law
- Prohibit the use of shell companies to funnel foreign money in U.S. elections
- Require government contractors to disclose their political spending
Ensure an ethical government accountable to the people:
- Slow the revolving door between government officials and lobbyists
- Expand conflict of interest law
- Ban members of Congress from serving on corporate boards
- Require presidents to publicly disclose their tax returns
- Overhaul the Office of Government Ethics to ensure stronger enforcement of ethics rules
- Require members of the U.S. Supreme Court abide by a judicial code of ethics
If there was ever a time for you to call EVERYONE—family members, girlfriends, church members, co-workers, sorority sisters, hairstylists, and nail technicians—this is the time! This action opportunity MUST spread like wildfire within your network just like when you found out the latest news about your favorite movie star or recording artist.
“The For the People Act deals with this in a very important way. It would stop the new wave of voter suppression, cold. It stops it in its tracks, and Congress has the power, the right, the authority — constitutionally and legally — to do this.” Michael Waldman, President, The Brennan Center
- Sign the WE CAN Petition. WE CAN’s goal is 1,000 signatures by Wednesday, April 14th, so after you sign the petition, please share it widely with your networks.
- Call Your United States Senators. You can find their contact information HERE. Not sure what to say? Check out the script below.
“Senator (INSERT LAST NAME), I am sure you share my concern about the hundreds of bills introduced or passed in states that will restrict voting rights. I am also sure you know that the For The People Act will all but stop these regressive laws from taking effect and limiting voting for millions of Americans. Do the right thing and PROTECT THE VOTE! Thank you.”
The forces at work to hinder our right to vote need to know that we are not only ready to fight, and we are not afraid. Sign the WE CAN petition AND call your elected officials. Do these things today. Like Now!
Support Kristen M. Clarke for Assistant Attorney General-Civil Rights Division
Representation matters. When people who have a similar lived experience are in leadership positions, it increases the chances that your experiences and needs are heard. Having women of color in leadership positions within the current administration (beyond Vice President Kamala Harris), remains a priority for WE CAN. To that end, we invite you to contact your elected official and demand a fair hearing for Kristen Clarke, nominee for Assistant Attorney General-Civil Rights Division.
Let your U.S. Senators know that Kristen Clarke is more than qualified for the position and that you want them to judge her record and her qualifications, not the lies reported by her opposition.