“I will vote.”
In three months, millions will be repeating this simple phrase.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) began the “I Will Vote” initiative before last fall’s election to help increase voter participation by providing Americans with a single location to register to vote, check their registrations, and learn about their states’ electoral process requirements.
Ahead of next year’s mid-term congressional elections, three years ahead of presidential election season, the DNC has announced an expansion of this successful initiative “to address and overcome efforts across the country to make voting more difficult and burdensome.”
For this, in addition to the initial $20 million investment, the DNC is prepared toinvest $25 million in voter education, protection, targeted registration, and technology to push back against republicans’ rampant voter suppression efforts.
DNC Chair Jaime Harrison stated in the official press release:
“Republicans know that their policies are unpopular—and that the only way for them to hold on to power is to attack the constitutional right to vote, held by the people they swore to serve. That’s why the Republican Party has made outrageous efforts to keep people from voting. But all across the country—from Democratic state legislators in Texas to the DNC’s recent case before the Supreme Court—Democrats have shown we are fighters and we will not give up our right to vote. I’ve said time and again that the ‘D’ in Democrat stands for deliver, and today we are delivering innovative and historic resources to protect this fundamental part of our democracy,”
At a speech delivered at her alma mater, Howard University, Vice President Kamala Harris said last month:
“This campaign is grounded in the firm belief that everyone’s vote matters. This is the fight of our lifetime. We all stand on the shoulders of giants. We will always remember our history. We also understand their legacy and that we are part of that. And in that way, there is a continuum. So, I say in that context, this is the fight of our nation’s lifetime.”
President Biden, meanwhile, met with representatives from the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP), National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, National Urban League, Nati onal Action Network, NCNW, Leadership Conference for Civil & Human Rights and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, addressing a campaign promise to meet quarterly to discuss civil rights and other related matters.
All of this is in conjunction with hope of passing SB1, the Senate companion bill to HR1, or the “For the People Act,” that passed 220-210 on March 3 with no Republican support and only one Democrat opposing.
A full breakdown of its sweeping provisions can be found here.
But, as Vox reports, there are several obstacles.
The first is none other than the filibuster, a racist anachronism invented to placate a once-insatiable slave-holding South.
The second issue is the number of centrist Democrats–WV Sen. Joe Manchin and Ariz. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema paramount among them–perfectly fine with the current Senate rules, gridlock and all.
“The third problem is that, even if Democrats lined up the votes to abolish the filibuster somehow, Manchin has said he’s inclined to oppose any party-line effort to overhaul voting in the country. If Manchin holds firm on this, the For the People Act is essentially dead.”
“The party has near-unanimity around the bill in public, with all but one House Democrat voting for it, and every Senate Democrat except Manchin co-sponsors it. But some members of the Congressional Black Caucus aren’t thrilled about it (fearing its redistricting reforms would dilute predominantly Black districts), and moderate senators have doubts as well.”
Ending the filibuster is key, but so is voter turnout.
When Democrats vote, they win.
That’s why republicans are throwing up so many roadblocks.
Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, & Third Wednesday. He is also a contributor to The Left Place blog on Substack, Liberal Nation Rising, and Medium.
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