The Fight to Vote
NOW was founded as a way for women to fight against efforts to restrict or deny us equal rights. This fight is only possible because of the right to vote – our most fundamental American right – which enables and empowers us to combat systems of oppression. But that right is under attack.
NOW is working hard to push the Senate to pass S1, the For the People Act, as this summary from the Brennan Center explains, “our democracy urgently needs repair.” This legislation will transform the way voting rights are protected by expanding voter participation and registration, restoring voting rights to returning citizens, implementing fair redistricting, and other reforms. The freedom to vote guarantees that every American – not just a privileged few – has a say in key decisions that impact our lives.
Yesterday, at a Senate Rules Committee markup on the bill, Republicans recycled the same, cynical talking points they use to promote the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election, and to justify voter suppression laws in the states—361 bills in 47 states as of March 24. For example, in Georgia, SB 202, signed into law on March 25, restricts absentee voting by requiring voters to present a photo ID to get an absentee ballot. It also limits the time for voters to request an absentee ballot and drastically reduces the availability and hours of drop boxes.
For generations, the Voting Rights Act was instrumental in protecting the right to vote for disenfranchised populations. Between 1982 and 2006, when Congress renewed the law, the Voting Rights Act blocked more than 1,000 proposed discriminatory voting changes. When the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby County v. Holder that key protections of the Voting Rights Act were unconstitutional, it opened the door for states to unleash the pent-up forces of voter suppression that the Voting Rights Act had previously been able to prevent.
A recent poll by Lake Research Partners and Hart Research Associates reported that 80 percent of Americans believe the Voting Rights Act is still needed, 68 percent support the For the People Act, and 70 percent support the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The American people demand safe and accessible elections to ensure every voice is heard.
Now, elected officials need to deliver and pass the For the People Act, S1. I urge all of you to rally support around this piece of legislation – contact your Senators, spread the word on social media, talk to your friends and family.
It’s clear we need transformative reform to make the promise of democracy real for us all. The For The People Act will take a giant step toward a future where we all have equal power to create our government through elections – a government for the people and free of systems of racism, sexism, and oppression.