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The Fight is To Make Sure Every Eligible Voter Can Vote Freely, Fairly, and His/her Vote Count!

Voting is your profound way of expressing your desire of the choice of the leader you want to represent you in your government. It’s your voice, your civic duty, and your right to participate in the affairs of your government.

Perhaps, of all the Civil Rights, Voting Rights matters the most. Why? Because if we argue that our voting rights matter and the constitution support the arguments that voting is a right and every voter's voice, in that case, our political leaders must ensure that people's voting rights are secure and protected, not tempered with to violate such right.

The Founding Fathers and The Voting Rights

From the Founding Father’s viewpoints, starting with James Madison who helped to produce the Constitution of the US which was ratified in 1787 and introduced the list of Amendments to the constitution, the Bill of Rights in 1789 after the realization of the importance of those rights to the voters. Thus, Madison was once an opponent of the Bill of rights because he thought “the government can only exert the powers specified by the constitution”, but later, Madison come to “appreciate the importance voters attached to these protections, the role that enshrining them in the Constitution could have in educating people about their rights, and the chance that adding them might prevent its opponent from making more drastic changes to it.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence which start with the recognition of man’s rights, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

To secure these rights, he wrote, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the Consent of the Governed-that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it…”.

Then came Lyndon Jackson who was a passionate supporter of civil rights and signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which was intended to end the Jim Crow era and held government accountable to its Black /minority citizens and to a true democracy. Lyndon Jackson argues, “This right to vote is the biggest right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals control over their destiny”.

Later in recent memory emerged Martin Luther King Jr. a pioneer and champion of Civil Rights movements, who throughout his life advocated for peaceful resistance against social injustices minority groups were subject to. MLK Jr. fought tirelessly and gave his life for a greater cause. He says this “If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight” This could not have been so relevant to the recent actions we see from the Republican Senate blocking bills that address people’s rights and protections of those rights.

In honoring his legacy at a time when some politicians are engaging in enacting state laws that violate the same rights MLK Jr. fought and lost his life for, his family demanded actions on federal voting rights legislation to honor his legacy of fighting for civil rights... “We are asking people to honor Dr. King through action to protect the right to vote…We’re directly calling on Congress not to pay lip service to my father’s ideals without doing the very thing that would protect his legacy: pass voting rights legislation” said, King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III on MLK Jr. Day this week.

Despite the call to action at a time when our voting rights are under attack by the Republican leadership in the Senate and states run by Republican governors, the voting rights legislation was blocked the next day on the Senate floor. The actions of the Republican leadership in recent years have ignored American history, values, and the Constitution altogether.

And now, Joe R. Biden Jr. a career politician who entered the presidency at an unprecedented time, and after his predecessor, Donald Trump who in four years managed to smash down many rules and regulations that were in place to protect people’s civil rights, his divisive and discriminatory policies, his vetoes, and his Executive Orders which were geared toward the erosion of democracy and the abuse of the constitution, and that of the presidency’s office, still are been carried by the GOP and the Republican Senate who are blocking the democratic bill after bill that will secure and protect the people’s civil rights.

In fact, for the second time, The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act was rejected in the senate when all republican senators, joined by Krysten Sinema and Joe Machin who betrayed their democratic party in changing the rules to overcome a Republican filibuster, hence failed to pass the voting right legislation.

Joe Biden whose presidential election victory was almost hijacked (couped Jan.6th, 2020) due to false narrative, a “Big Lie” manufactured by his predecessor who got into power in 2016 under a series of suspicions following the intimidations, false threats, and lies about Hilary Clinton and of course with the help of Russian interference into the US election systems-‘Russia find Hilary’s emails’…

Same tactics he wanted to deploy to steal the election from Joe Biden when he knew he was going to lose the election by exactly the number of votes he demanded Georgia to find for him-‘Georgia find 11,780 votes’…and again he continued to spread lies about election votes results from states he was losing, and with his Republican allies they pressured, threatened, intimidate, and sued some states, but all failed-Georgia were to find 11780 votes he wants that would have been enough to win Georgia…How do you find votes for someone when he demanded it? Who was committing election fraud here?

We all remember what went on in Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania. How coincidence or convincing that the same states Donald Trump wanted to win by force to steal the presidency again are the states that are targeted for massive laws and restrictive measures that violate voting rights.

For Joe Biden, and frankly most of the Americans of all stripes-some Republicans, Democrats, Independent views these undemocratic and unconstitutional acts by the Republicans as the return of Jim Crow. ‘Jim Crow 2.0 which is about two insidious things: voter suppression and election subversion. It’s no longer about who gets the vote; it’s about making it harder to vote. It’s about who gets to count the vote and whether your vote counts at all.’

“You know, for the right to vote and to have the votes counted is democracy’s threshold liberty. Without it, nothing is possible, but with it, anything is possible” said, Joe Biden.

If the purpose of politics is justice, and the first duty of the society is justice, then the government only exists not to create rights, but to secure those rights.

“Government secure our rights to create a civil society” … “The consent is important not when we form a government, but for the operation of the government; and that is where the voting right becomes an important and necessary tool that spearheads and protects democracy.

Security for Rights without effective control over those who exercise power will lead to unfair practices that hinder peoples’ rights and jeopardize democracy.

How do Americans consent to be governed? How should you vote? Who should vote? What are the rights of the minorities? And why our politicians are inclined to ignore these questions and engage in practices that infringer people’s rights are a merely selfish act that drove them into concern about the next election and how it is going to impact them to stay in power. Maintaining power over their people is all that the politicians are most concerned about than securing and protecting individual rights!

While the framers of the constitution rendered the role of elections to be regulated by the states, they also gave Congress the power to make federal laws to regulate elections when it ought to be proper and necessary to secure the voting rights of the individuals.

In Article 1 Section 4, the Constitution says:

“The times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulation.”

The 14th Amendment (1868) granted Blacks the right of citizenship, although the ability to vote wasn’t straightforward! Blacks’ voters systematically were turned away from state(s) polling places, and many other restrictions and tactics were imposed on Black people to shrink and deny them access to the ballot box.

But in 1870 Congress passed the 15th Amendment with the intent to combat the problems that denied Blacks their votes. It says, “The right of citizens of the US to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

So, from time immemorial the US was founded as a democratic republic, and Constitutionally, Congress has a supreme role to play in regulating our elections law when it is deemed to be proper and necessary to secure and protect individuals’ civil rights.

However, the Republican Senate is dodging their Constitutional role and engaging in partisan politics by blocking every bill Democrats bring to the floor for discussion and support, and most of those bills are geared toward addressing the issues and challenges American working people are facing especially currently and under the Covid pandemic.

Be that as it may, the current trend by one party, the Republican party leadership to ignore the constitution, their oath of office, and their duty to abide by the rules and laws that granted the Congress the power to make laws or alter state(s) laws and rules that violate and deny individual rights is appalling and should be regarded as a crime against our democracy and elections systems, for the states in the 21st century to be embarking on circumventing the Constitution and prevent Blacks, and other minority groups their individual rights, particularly voting right.

Concerning the power of Congress to regulate the elections, Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 60-61) argues that the Federal government should be the only entity within the government that can regulate its own election, rather than the states or any other entity being able to regulate those elections. Allowing the states to regulate the elections of the federal government would leave the existence of a federalist union entirely at the mercy of those states, contrary to its supreme role over the federal government affairs that supersedes that of the states.

In recent years, from the 2016 election and after the 2020 elections, some Republican leadership began to enact restrictive state voting laws designed to support their falsehoods and ‘Big Lie’ about the stolen election when they lost the election.

The Republicans and The Voting Rights

Surely the party of Abraham Lincoln has died, and no one is sure about its replacement! But first, how the Republican Party evolve and revolve: In 1860, the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln was elected after the party’s success in guiding the Union to victory in the American Civil war, and Lincoln’s role in the abolition of slavery.

The Republican party dominated the national political scene until the Great Depression (1929-1940). By1932 party members were leaving the party and others underwent an ideological shift to the right.

Social reforms have never been a concern for Republicans! At times when society calls for such reforms to address the ills in the society whether is the economic crisis of the magnitude of the Great Depression, or the pervasive pandemic invasion that crippled people, the economy, and the society, the Republican party holds into the old and uncompromised ways of defying democratic values that the US is founded on, neglect the working-class Americans, but heavily concern about property ownership, involved with trading with big corporations, and favor the wealthy at the expense of the working-class.

Even then, Abraham Lincoln on Civil Rights said, “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

The Republican party’s core base shifted drastically to become more reliable on White voters who increasingly identify with the Republican party, and the Southern states after the 1960s growing demands for social justice reforms.

Thus, after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the continuous shifting of demographic change, the Republican party is suffering from the inability to integrate party members, instead, they are recruiting hardliners with radical and extreme views on how government should conduct its affair forgetting that government is not a party, but people.

Government is the people, for the people, and by the people. Diversity and inclusiveness in the Republican party have never been their desire and or concern; as a result, their desire and or concern has been engaging into infringing minorities’ rights, especially voting rights, instead of finding strategies to attract minority groups of African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Natives to join their party.

If America is made up of these groups, what motivates Republicans to think that they can deny them their citizenry rights, or treat them as non-Americans? Just yesterday after blocking the Democrats’ voting rights bill Mitch McConnel, a Republican Minority leader in the Senate said this, “The concern is misplaced because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans”, implying that African Americans are not Americans?

The same groups of people that Republican’s mindset of whiteness have no desire to integrate into their party-the Blacks and other minority groups are now their enemy number one, targeting them at the ballot box using false rhetoric such as stolen election to introduce massive states voting laws and restrictive voting regulations to deny them their rights to vote freely, fairly, and secure their votes.

In the 2021 legislative session alone, lawmakers in 48 states have introduced at least 389 restrictive bills that limit voting by mail, early in-person voting, Election Day Voting hours and Same Day Voting, Types of IDs requirement, and other anti-voting measures. This anti-democratic trend by the Republican party is a serious concern for the health and future of US democracy, but also for the Civil Rights of the minority groups.

Poll after poll shows that many Americans oppose these voting restrictions and want federal action so that their voices can be heard, and their rights protected.

It should be noted that not all the Republicans are siding with their leadership, in particular the Republican Senate and the Republican State leaders. Some groups of Republicans such as Republican for Voting Rights, an initiative of the Republican Accountability Project are defending the accessibility, integrity, and competitiveness of American elections.

They are against the false narrative and rhetorical language around the Republican's massive state voting laws and restrictions as a better choice for voting access and election integrity!

They believe Republicans in federal, state, and local governments should protect the rights to vote, protect our election systems from attacks either by one party or foreign interference, and help to protect and build trust in US democracy which other countries that are less or young democracies look up to, instead of engaging into enacting state laws and restrictions that illuminate voter fraud, voter suppression, and other election crimes.

Abraham Lincoln, a Republican and the 16th President of the United State, who also abolished slavery, asserted that “The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” What he meant by that is that, if you want to stand for your country, by freedom, and for democracy, your weapon is your vote! Voting must be accessible for every eligible voter, and every eligible voter ought to vote in every election to bring about the changes we want to see in ourselves, in our communities, and in the government that works for the people, not the few and wealthy.

The Democrats and the Voting Rights

The Democrats' beliefs about the right to vote and the Voting Rights are derived from its party’s principles of American liberalism, contrary to the conservatism of the Republican Party, which tends to maintain the status quo and slow to act in the dynamics of the ever fast-changing societies.

Most Democrats are centrist and a few numbers progressives, but also with a small number of conservatives (Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin), and a few elements of socialism (Bernie Sanders). Given such diverse makeup of the party, Democrats tend to promote social programs such as Labor Unions, Consumer Protection, Workers Safety Regulations, Equal Opportunity, Disability Rights, Racial Equality, Environmental Regulations to safeguard our drinking water and the air we breathe; Criminal Justice Reforms and other programs that secure and protect peoples’ social liberties and freedoms.

Democrats believe that the right to vote for every eligible voter and his or her vote counted is crucial for American democracy and essential for individual freedom, and they are against enacting laws that restrict freedom of voting, fairness to access the ballot box, or other unnecessary restrictions on those seeking to exercise their voting rights.

Looking beyond the hyper rhetoric of the 2020 stolen election campaign by the Republicans (which is a total unacceptable misleading the public) which implicate false shortcomings in the US election systems-even in the case of machine malfunctions or some voters voted twice, such claim does not add up to alter the election outcome when the winner is at advantage in high percentage numbers.

So, to compare what Democrats and Republicans are engaged in to infringe or to protect the voting rights is simple: One party becomes a watchdog to safeguard our voting rights, and the other party insult and assault our voting rights.

Instead of engaging in activism and volunteering to turn out the votes, to register new voters especially young eligible voters, and attract new party members like Democrats did in 2018 and 2020, Republicans are busy finding ways to engage in voter suppression, voter purging, voter fraud, and welcome foreign interference into our election system.

While Democrats are engaged in restoring and strengthening our democracy, freedoms, and civil rights, Republicans are engaged in falsehood campaigns about election frauds that forced them into enacting state laws intended to disenfranchise the minority voters through massive various voting restrictions and unconstitutional laws.

We know our government and our elections are supposed to reflect the interests of all American people, not just the wealthy few and the big corporation who pour money into politics influencing politicians who take their money to work for them instead of the people.

But Democrats and people who care about American democracy and freedoms will fight back to restore and protect America’s fundamental right to vote freely fairly, and everyone’s vote counted.

The For the People Act which was blocked by 41 Republican Senate who represents only 21 million people by using a filibuster to deny the 62% majority of Americans who support The People Act demonstrates how undemocratic and unconstitutional Republicans have become. The For The People Act would have expanded and protected people's voting rights. This bill would have changed the campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limited gerrymandering, created new ethics rules for federal officeholders, protected our election integrity, and overall strengthening and protecting our democracy.

The For the Peoples Act would have transformed our democracy by making it stronger and our voting rights fairer, freer, secured, and more inclusive. It would have been the most anti-corruption and pro-democracy bill since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights of 1965.

Should the For the People Act have been passed it would have brought the voting right reforms that meet the moment in responding to the challenges minority have long faced when they exercise their right to vote. While the American people have realized that the status quo is no longer delivering or working for them, Congress must use its supreme power to regulate states' laws that are discriminatory and violate the constitution and people’s rights.

Yesterday, Wednesday, Jan 20th, 2022, on Joe Biden one year anniversary into the presidency, the Republican Senate again blocked a vote to reform the Senate filibuster rule, and hinder the passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act which would have been the most crucial for our democracy after the For The People Act failed to pass because of the “Do Nothing” Mitch McConnell and his GOP leadership boycotting any bill Democrats bring to the Senate floor.

This bill would have protected future elections from authoritarian attacks, end big money in our elections, stop gerrymandering, make election day a holiday, given two weeks of early voting and implement automatic voter registration in all states. It would have also restored key provisions in the original 1965 Voting Rights Act and made it harder to pass anti-voter laws in the future.

Nevertheless, the Republican Senate, Krysten Sinema, and Joe Manchin once again delivered another NO to the American people, and again failed the opportunity to secure and protect America’s democracy by blocking the Freedom to Vote: John r. Lewis Act. If was passed it would have curbed the recent wave of restrictions passed in 19 states fueled by Donald Trump ‘Big Lie’ that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him due to voter fraud even though court after the court threw away his claims for lacking reliable evidence that fraud occurred that could have altered the result to his favor.

In a nutshell

The next time you hear Republicans lie to you that they are for the working-class people, ask them what they have done for the working class-which legislations have they initiated or supported that support working-class especially since 2016 to dates and at times that we have been facing many changes and crises- the effects of climate change, the systemic racial discrimination and the violence associated with it, the unprecedented Covid pandemic that shock and shook the entire world; and the recent presidential election feud that is still fueling undemocratic and unconstitutional acts by one party!

Ask Republicans why you should stand for 10 or 12 hours in long-line to exercise your voting rights? Or how does removing polling places in low-income neighboring’s, on college compasses, and in communities of color translate to secure and protect the integrity of the election? Ask them when they wish to change the election and campaign-finance laws so that there is uniformity in following the same rules in all 50 states when administering federal elections.

Where should we vote freely, fairly, and our votes counted if we don’t seek protection, partisan takes over of election administration, or ban partisan gerrymandering, and mandate disclosure of big donors, ‘dark money influencing our elections? Ask them what if they honor working people by making Election Day a public holiday? That a working voter doesn’t have to decide between her civic duty and losing hours of work by standing in long-line for hours to exercise his or her right to vote!

Again, ask, who should strengthen our democracy and guarantee that every American’s vote is protected if not those who we elected to represent us in our government affairs?

“Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, and the world.”

Our voting rights and election system must be secured and protected for they are the core elements of democracy. We must stand for and defend the accuracy, stop misinformation and partisan politics; and understand that constitution does not demand you to vote, but it commands the protection of your voting rights when exercising that right.


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