By Alex Lasry
Across the country and even right here in Wisconsin, Republicans are attacking the very foundation of our democracy – the constitutional right to vote. Free and fair elections that reflect the will of the American people are at stake.
Under the guise of preventing non-existent election fraud, Republicans are deciding who gets to vote and who doesn’t. They want to exclude people of color, the poor, people with disabilities and young people by instituting new obstacles that will make it much harder to vote. They have done it before and they are trying to do it again.
Republicans know that the majority of people in this country don’t support them or their policies. Their leadership is increasingly isolated and out of touch, and they are being pulled further and further to the fringes of the right wing in an attempt to appease Donald Trump. As Republicans watch more and more voters reject them, they are desperately grasping to hold onto power through more and more extreme measures.
In just the current legislative session, Republican legislators in 48 states have introduced at least 389 bills to make it harder to vote.
Here in Wisconsin, Republicans in the legislature have already passed seven election-related bills that erect significant new barriers to voting. Gov. Tony Evers has already vetoed one of these bills, and is waiting for the other six to be sent to him. Evers has promised to veto any bill that results in new barriers to voting.
This once again shows how important it was for Evers to have won in 2018 and makes it abundantly clear how important it is that we re-elect him in 2022 to ensure disgraceful legislation like this never becomes law. Evers is the only thing in the way of Wisconsin enacting the same restrictive voting laws that we are seeing in other states across the country.
Republicans have no shame and their attempts to deny the right to vote is undemocratic, un-American and unpatriotic.
Absent comprehensive legislation, the Biden-Harris Administration is using every tool they have available to protect and advance voting rights across America. I am grateful that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are using all the powers available to the executive branch to bring to bear the federal government’s capacities to make voting easier.
But executive action is not enough. While it definitely helps right now, the next president can easily undo it. We all saw what happened with Trump.
The only way to protect voting rights into the future is to pass legislation to overcome the rash of anti-voter laws Republicans are attempting to pass across the states. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act are two bills that can be passed now to ensure this.
For that reason, Republicans are blocking this crucial legislation. We must vote out the legislators that are obstructing this and replace them with leaders who believe in democracy and the constitutional right to vote.
That starts right here in Wisconsin with voting out Sen. Ron Johnson. Johnson is a staunch opponent of both of these voting rights bills and believes that only Republicans should be able to decide who gets to vote. We need to build a coalition of advocates, activists, students, faith leaders, labor leaders and business executives to overcome these un-American trends.
We need to engage everyone who believes in equality, justice, and the Constitution to join with us to not only protect what we have, but to expand access to vote in free and fair elections.
Expanding the right to vote has been a persistent fight since the founding of this country. Every generation has been called to defend the hard-fought gains achieved by those who came before us. Our generation is now being called to do our part to protect democracy.
This is our fight. The time for leadership is now.