Sen. Bernie Sanders will host a number of prominent guests to discuss the war being waged against American democracy in the form of voter suppression laws and extreme gerrymandering in states all across the country.
“There is very little time left to protect democracy as we know it,” said Sanders. “Our panel will discuss the ways in which we can fight back against these anti-democratic efforts.”
Panelists will include Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee; Ari Berman, a senior reporter at Mother Jones covering voting rights; Nsé Ufot, CEO for The New Georgia Project which has registered over 500,000 voters in all 159 of that state’s counties; and John Nichols, national affairs correspondent for The Nation magazine and the co-founder of the media-reform group Free Press.
The panel discussion will be live-streamed over Facebook beginning at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.
To participate in the forum, which is free and open to all, visit www.facebook.com/events/591713525417502
In an unprecedented year for voting legislation, 19 states have enacted 33 laws that will make it harder for Americans to vote, according to experts at the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute.
Between January 1 and September 27, at least 19 states enacted 33 laws that make it harder for Americans to vote. More than 425 bills with provisions that restrict voting access have been introduced in 49 states in the 2021 legislative sessions.
At the same time, lawmakers in many states responded to Americans’ eagerness to vote by making it easier for eligible voters to cast their ballots. Between January 1 and September 27, at least 25 states enacted 62 laws with provisions that expand voting access.
But this expansive legislation does not balance the scales.
The states that have enacted restrictive laws tend to be ones in which voting is already relatively difficult, while the states that have enacted expansive laws tend to have relatively more accessible voting processes. In other words, access to the right to vote increasingly depends on the state in which a voter happens to reside.
Congress has the power to protect American voters from the kinds of restrictions enacted so far this year but legislation to accomplish that has met obstruction in the US Senate.
The Freedom to Vote Act, which is currently before the Senate, is a comprehensive package of voting, redistricting, and campaign finance reforms. It includes national standards for voting that would ensure access to the ballot across state lines.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which has also passed in the House, would complement the Freedom to Vote Act. In many instances, it would prevent changes to voting rules that discriminate on the basis of race or membership in language minority groups from being implemented, and it would restore voters’ robust ability to challenge discriminatory laws.
All Senate Republicans, with the exception of Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), voted to block debate on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which prevented the bill from receiving a floor vote.
Following a legislative season that saw many states increase barriers to voting, these laws and proposals, often added quietly and late in the legislative process, would change who runs elections, who counts the votes, and how. They go beyond vote suppression to enable direct election subversion. And they have a distinctly authoritarian flavor. Joseph Stalin put it pungently: “I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.”
Legislation enabling partisan interference in election administration is part of a broader “election sabotage” or “election subversion” campaign, a national push to enable Republicans to distort voting results based on the lies propagated by disgraced former President Donald Trump, who insists despite all the evidence, that he won the 2020 election.