America must enact laws that protect voting rights, not revoke them.
By Riley Mulcahy
America is based on the freedoms we hold dear, not on the hopes and backs of greedy politicians. Although this seems like a simple truth, we have seen a rise in politicians grasping for power at the expense of the voters that voted them in. However, the Republican Party, in particular, has consistently caused trouble by creating laws that limit the power and freedom of voting, which is a vital piece of our democracy.
This moment is crucial. The rebuke of the Trump presidency came from Americans voting their allegiance to Democracy, not a single party. Also, voting evokes many feelings for politicians because of its implications of how it shapes the country to become conservative or liberal. The result comes from most voters’ stance on the Democratic system we ascribe to as Americans.
With the Trump presidency, America dangled between the democracy it was founded on and the fascist nightmare of an autocratic government. Furthermore, with the election of 2020, Biden’s platform did not win the presidency. Instead, it was a culmination of liberal and progressive ideals suppressed by the Trump presidency, which just fueled the fire even more for a record-breaking 80 million people to vote for Biden.
Dozens of new laws limiting voting have been enacted from the last election, which shows the fear of bold, progressive actions. If voters had gone into the voting box and voted Republican, there would not have been laws limiting votes. Instead, they would have continued the toxic practice of gerrymandering, which focuses on redistricting in a way that favors one party over the other. Although Republicans are the current example, Democrats are also complicit in this practice.
So what is the answer? How do we create a fair society based on the freedoms of voting that we claim to be a part of already? First, we must address the systemic issue and pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act that protects the right to vote federally. In January, Georgia chose to elect democratic senators, which gave a slim majority for the Democrats in the government. The ballot box comes with a big responsibility, the trust of American voters. Furthermore, they are worried about voting laws that actually protect voters because they would lose immense power. Overwhelmingly, Americans believe in the democratic plan or want it more the Republican fear-mongering platform.
Second, we must hold our politicians accountable. Accountability has been a trendy word in the last five years because there has been a lack of transparency and downright criminal behavior in Washington. However, enabling strong voting laws will discourage politicians and parties from focusing on the changing demographics and skew them in their favor; instead, they would put their best candidate forward to support the American people as they are required to do.
To create a more equitable system, we must ensure that future Americans are protected. Voting protects America from or creates an unjust system. Given the majority support of Biden’s first 100 days, we must see this as a positive direction. However, Americans can not lose sight of the burden that freedoms come with. Democracy is fragile, and we must protect it at all costs, and the most important way we do this is to stop these unjust voting laws. Instead of the obsession with unfounded claims of voting fraud, Americans and politicians must be worried about our Democracy and the weight of the symbol of voting has.
Victoria Vidales '21,