By Dr. John E. Warren
By the time most of us read this, the United States Senate would have taken a vote on the Voting Rights Legislation that has been delayed for so long. While passage of the Voting Rights Act and the John Lewis Act would go a long way in nullifying the many Voter Suppression laws enacted during the past year in more than 28 states, we must all realize that this battle for the right to vote now rests with each and every one of us.
We must now understand that the issue is not one of whether we will have a democracy. The real issue is will we become a nation of racists fighting to kill the continuation of a representative government that some of us think of as a democracy, or will we allow our future to rest with two individual members of the Senate? Will we allow citizenship suppression to become the symbol of democracy for those who truly believe that only a select few are to be counted in the limited and non-inclusive government that tramples on the rights of people of color and marginalized citizens.
Because the attack on voting rights is so aggressive and uniform, those of us in favor and support of voting rights legislation must act now and take this cause beyond the necessary votes needed to make the pending bills the law of the land. We must now register and re-register every person capable, of voting age, for the midterm elections which will take place this November 2022. We must check existing voter rolls for the names of all those who have been or are being “purged” for whatever reason. We must find and re-register those individuals so that they can be in good standing to vote in November. We must conduct election drills just as Dr. King and those in the Civil Rights demonstrations prepared for each march before they went out to be attacked by dogs and high-powered water hoses.
We must establish committees to look at and examine those persons seeking to run for office at all levels and test whether they have campaign proposals that would weaken both elections and tamper with the people who handle such elections. This would include laws against election workers, voting opportunities at the local and state level as well as a national commitment to ensure that those elected to the House and Senate will maintain the control of those bodies to meet our goals.
We can’t wait to study the new electoral districts; we can’t wait to find the right people to run for office or to start the fund raising that will be necessary to change the projected Republican outcome for November 2022. Now is the time to start both here and with our families, friends and neighbors across this country. We must prove that no laws can stop an idea whose time has come with the people the laws were intended to serve.