After retaking the U.S. House in the 2018 midterms, Democrats have announced their first act: an overhaul of voting rights that includes automatic voter registration, independent redistricting, an end to Citizens United-era corporate spending, and a full restoration of the Voting Rights Act.
Michiganders also took some of these steps at the ballot box this year by passing Proposals 2 and 3, which will end partisan gerrymandering and increase access to the ballot box, respectively.
Meanwhile, Republicans in national and state offices are working to undermine our democratic process. From GOP attempts to prevent votes from being counted in Georgia and Florida, to conservative opposition to pro-democracy ballot proposals here in Michigan, the Republican Party consistently works to exclude communities who tend to vote against them from our democratic process.
To those of us with ample time to vote on Election Day, access to reliable transportation, and a photo ID, voting rights issues may not be as apparent, but that’s not the case for everyone. The impact of restrictive voting laws – including policies like voter ID laws, restrictions on early and absentee voting, and early registration deadlines – is especially significant for people of color, low-income communities, and students. Things have only gotten worse since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013.
Concurrently, corporate interests spend excessive amounts of money to influence campaigns and partisan gerrymandering allows elected officials to draw district lines that distort the will of voters to benefit their own party.
Even in a divided America, the integrity of our democracy should be something we can all agree on, but it’s hard to ignore that one party (Democrats) wants to count every vote, while the other (Republicans) tries to disrupt the process; that one party wants every eligible voter to be able to vote, while the other restricts access to the ballot box; and one party wants fair maps, while the other favors a system where elected officials choose their voters instead of the other way around.
The Republican Party stands against democracy and equality, and it’s time we hold them accountable for it.