March 05, 2021
In the USA Today portion of today’s paper the leading news was the voting rights measure that was passed by the US House of Representatives. The Resolution touches virtually every aspect of the electoral process, including restricting partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, removing hurdles to voting, and bringing transparency to the campaign finance system. The bill is seen as a counterweight to the restrictions advanced by Republican controlled statehouses across the country. The state restrictions were passed after the past president’s repeated false claims (read, all lost in court) of a stolen 2020 election. The measure passed on partisan lines, with no Republican votes in favor.
I have proudly voted in every national election (and most local ones) since becoming eligible when I turned 18. That includes voting legally in the four different states where I have taken residence. I have staunchly maintained that my vote be cast by secret ballot. That means I have never claimed a party affiliation and have instead maintained myself as “independent.” While this preserves my privacy and allows me to vote my conscience rather than party line, it also precludes me from voting in the primaries that choose the candidates who run for election. Regardless of which party candidate wins election, I have tried to support them as my conscious will allow.
As House Bill–1 moves to the Senate it appears it will face opposition, and an expected partisan vote. That means the Democratic controlled (50-50+1) body will face a significant question, what to do if forced to choose between the protection of voting rights and the protection of the filibuster. Dozens of states with Republican legislators are trying to make voting more difficult. While the explanation is voter fraud (which has not been found), it comes down to the belief that lower voter turnout helps their party win elections. The bill seems to have no chance of winning the 60 votes needed to overcome a Senate filibuster. The bill will only pass if all 48 Senate Democrats and 2 Independents agree to scrap or alter the filibuster, as they have the power to do. Independents control the vote over partisanship.
Thoughts: The right to vote is fundamental to the American Revolution and the resulting Constitution. While this was a just cause for the Founders, it has always meant “my” right to vote rather than yours. That is obvious by amendments defining who has the right to vote and formation of the Electoral College to make sure the “elite” rather than the “rabble” actually vote for the President. Responsible voting demands non-partisan action. What we need are legislators who are willing to vote conscious rather than party line or keeping themselves in power. If we are “for the people, and by the people,” perhaps “all the people” should be able to vote. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.