The Vote

We have the opportunity to make voting in this country a more just exercise. Let us seize the moment.

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School House Rock "I'm just a bill"

Just a bill from Schoolhouse Rock

Being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it's the past we step into
and how we repair it
—Amanda Gorman (2021)

Trump and company filed 100 separate lawsuits following the 2020 election. And, in nearly every one, he accused cities and states of fraud ranging from allegations that observers were actively being prohibited from viewing ballot counting to ballot-counting machines and software that were programmed to give Biden multiple votes for every one for Trump. Out of the 100 lawsuits, more than 60 have ended with either an order of dismissal, an order denying relief, or a voluntary dismissal by Trump.

Although every complaint filed by team Trump claimed voter fraud, not a single lawsuit had a shred of evidence to back up the allegations. Judicial appointees from both sides of the aisle, from benches up and down the judicial food chain including the United States Supreme Court, have handed down decisions that one by one, chipped away at the lies told by the outgoing president—or so we thought. If the last four years have taught us anything, it is that the party of Trump, formerly known as the GOP, is an ever-evolving villain whose depravity knows no bounds. And, when the truth stands in their way, they need only shout louder and find a solution that leaves evidence and truth behind. Enter state-level legislation stage right.

As of today, NCSL is tracking 2,957 pieces of vote-related legislation across the country with 531 bills filed in the nine states with the heaviest post-election litigation alone. While Democrats have tried to expand the franchise to as many people as possible, the GOP has for years engaged in limiting that access by engaging in gerrymandering and preying on racists’ fears and claims of fraud. And, much of the pending legislation is more of the same filed by newly elected members of state legislatures who while accepting their own win, rejected (quietly or otherwise) Biden’s success on the same ballot.

These are a few of the pending bills whose passage may adversely affect our ability to vote:

Voter Supression Bills

Alaska

2021 AK S 39: This bill rolls back automatic voter registration.

Arizona

2021 AZ S 1499: This legislation would create new roadblocks to the installation of duly elected candidates by keeping in place the incumbent until such time as the qualification of the successor has been established. This does not in itself sound so terrible until you consider who gets to make the determination. Trump has yet to acknowledge Biden’s win, so if this law applied to the recent presidential election, Trump may well continue to be in power despite Biden’s win.

2021 AZ H 2369: This legislation requires that voters will have to sign their ballots in the presence of a notary (witness) who affirms the identity of the voter as being one in the same as the person named on the ballot. This would undoubtedly impact the number of people who vote by mail, thereby reducing overall turnout, because some individuals will not be willing or able to execute their ballot in front of a notary.

New Hampshire

2021 NH SB 31: This legislation would permit election administrators to remove voters from the rolls based on data provided by other states. This type of legislation has already been found by federal courts to violate (https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/court-cases/indiana-naacp-and-league-women-voters-indiana-v-lawson) the National Voter Registration Act.

New Mexico

2021 NM S 48: This bill eliminates the ability to make changes to voter registration information on Election Day which means that you will need to visit the office of your election official prior to Election Day in order to make any changes. This type of obstacle disproportionately impacts minorities and low-wage earners who do not have the luxury of taking time off on multiple occasions to make changes to their voters’ registration.

New York / Texas

2021 NY SB 1853 and 2021 TX H 329: Let us not forget the GOP go-to boogie-man of the electorate everywhere—the non-citizen voter. Texas legislators should be reminded that non-citizens cannot vote in any state, so they should not waste time on this type of bill when there are other more important issues facing Texans.

Texas

2021 TX H 530: Perhaps the most startling, especially in light of the January 6th siege of the Capitol Building, this proposed legislation would permit election judges to have a weapon on their person while fulfilling their official duties. A comprehensive study completed in 2019 has debunked the “good guy with a gun myth” finding that the presence of a gun increases the risk of violence.

But fear not, there are also bills in the works that we can support:

Voting Access Bills

Georgia and Arizona

2021 GA S 37 and 2021 AZ S 1697: These bills would award the state's Presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote, if states representing a majority of electoral votes all pass similar bills. If that happens, this would end the Electoral College as we know it. To date, 16 states have joined the compact.

Indiana

2021 IN S 402: This bill provides for automatic voter registration or renewal when obtaining or renewing a driver’s license or state identification.

Kentucky

2021 KY H 204: Amendments to current law would provide secure drop boxes for the return of completed ballots.

Oregon

2021 OR S 249: This legislation would allow election officials to begin counting ballots as soon as they are received.

Pennsylvania

2021 PA H 18: This legislation proposes that Election Day be declared a legal holiday.

South Carolina

2021 SC S 156, SC H 3533, and SC H 3617: These bills provide for the establishment of early voting which SC does not currently have.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are scores of bills pending all around the country that seek to diminish voting rights. And, the GOP has dipped their pen deeply into the well in a backlash against the historic voter turnout we saw last year. Despite the pandemic, more people voted than ever before because they were given the tools to do so. Also, hoping to capitalize on an excited electorate, many states have bills pending that look to expand the ways in which we exercise the franchise including bills in states that have a history of voter suppression.

We have the opportunity to make voting in this country a more just exercise. Let us seize the moment.

What Can You Do?

If November 2020 showed us anything, it demonstrated that given the opportunity, the party of Trump will stop at nothing in order to maintain power even if that effort is fraught with lies and deception. While the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue shares more of our values than its previous resident, there are state legislatures around the country who will continue to do the dirty work of Trump. It is up to us to defend democracy by lobbying our officials and reminding them that they do in fact work for us, not him.

Every vote counts in this country and the person behind each vote deserves equal access to the franchise.

Send stateContact your Governor and/or state legislators to 50409 and write to your state officials regarding any one of the above pieces of legislation (or on any other issue that is important to you) and let your voice be heard.

Be safe out their Resistbotters!

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or text resist to 50409