The U.S. 2020 national election is well underway (more than 4 million ballots have already been casthttps://reut.rs/3iFvxn3) amidst a civic war.
The critical issue at stake in this battle is voter encouragement versus voter suppression. And this national confrontation is taking place as the deadly pandemic continues to take American lives and has now spread to within the White House community.
But many millions of Americans are in an unprecedented vortex produced largely by an Administration that not only encourages voter suppression but also undermines the election itself.
There are, are course, many compelling reasons for Americans to vote.
The right to vote is the cornerstone of democracy. Voting makes possible “government by consent of the governed.” It has been invoked as “the most powerful expression of democracy.” Indeed, every vote is a voice heard.
Susan B. Anthony was uncompromising on voting: “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.”
The spectrum of institutions and organizations urging Americans to cast their ballots in the 2020 election – and providing needed information to do so – is broad and deep. A not-so-random selection:
USA.Gov – the official website of the U.S. Government. https://www.usa.gov/how-to-vote
The League of Women Voters– the venerable but still highly influential national vote-facilitating organization. https://bit.ly/3noPIt
Consumer Reports– via its special publication: “Your Guide to Voting During a Pandemic” https://bit.ly/36CbdAW
Tragically, voter suppression is not new in the United States. But it is now so common in this country thatThe New York Times Magazine
this week devoted 12+ pages to encapture it:“The Attack on Voting”
-“How the false claim of voter fraud is being used to disenfranchise Americans.” Key paragraphs:
“As the 2020 presidential election nears, it is becoming clear that the Trump administration and the Republican Party are not just looking at but heavily investing in the largely nonexistent problem of voter fraud…”
“Between Georgia, Ohio, and Texas alone, at least 160,000 people had been wrongfully removed from voter registration lists in 2018 and 2019. Those marked for ejection were disproportionately Black and Latino…” [higher estimates have been reported].
“The movement to convince the country that voter fraud is a present danger to democracy has itself become a present danger to democracy. It has melded into the president’s re-election campaign…”
You might think that we can get some comfort from the people who, throughout the states, are charged with assuring a fair election – the Secretary of State in each state. Most belong to a professional society , The National Association of Secretaries of State https://bit.ly/3cZU3hH
. Earlier this year the association reaffirmed this resolution: “…each member … takes an oath of office in which we promise to faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office … to ensure that that elections are run in a fair and nonpartisan manner so that all voters, regardless of their political affiliation, are well served.”
However, only forty states are represented by members in the association. And, frankly, the resolve for fair elections in some of the NASS-member states is suspect. For example, voter suppression in various forms has this year been rife not only in the states cited in the Times article but also in NASS-member states Florida, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.. This, largely due to the influence of governors, legislatures, state courts, and/or state political parties.
American voter turnout vs. voter suppression – an epic battle, indeed.
For the next four weeks the VOTE! community will have to continue to marshal, support and sustain the energy and commitments of the many millions of Americans who have not yet voted, especially those in the nation’s “swing states”.
At stake: American democracy.