Politicians must protect voting rights
Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) Spoke on campus on Wednesday about the voting rights legislation in the United States.
The event, titled “Race, Religion and the Assault on Voting Rights”, took place at the Lohrfink Auditorium and featured Warnock in conversation with Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Al.) And Rev. Jim Wallis , the first director of the Center for Faith and Justice, a research center that studies the intersection of faith and politics.
Voting is deeply linked to the human condition and should be a human right, according to Warnock.
“A vote is a kind of prayer for the world that we desire for ourselves and for our children,” Warnock said. “I believe it is sacred because at its core, voting is about your voice, and your voice is about your human dignity, and we have to stand up for that.”
This year alone, at least 19 states passed 33 laws that made it harder for Americans to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. The laws include criminal charges for distributing water or snacks to voters in Georgia or submitting ballots to those who may need help voting in Iowa and Kansas. To compound the problem, Senate Republicans have invoked systematic obstruction on three occasions in the past year to block the advancement of legislation to protect voting rights.
Warnock, who is a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, said the crackdown on the franchise in his home state and across the country was contrary to American democratic values.
“What is happening in Georgia and across our country is very serious,” Warnock said at the event. “This is a total attack on our democracy, and those of us who believe in democracy must take this fight, and so I am deeply honored to be in this fight with you to fight for our country to fight for our democracy because I believe in democracy.
Making it easier to vote is a straightforward policy for politicians to support, Sewell says.
“Voting rights, especially among elected officials, shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” Sewell said at the event. “We should all want to, especially as elected officials, our constituents and the people to vote. After all, the vote is your voice in this democracy.
Sewell is the sponsor of HR 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, which establishes new criteria for states to receive prior approval from the US Department of Justice before making changes to laws that affect voting rights. Although the bill was passed by the House of Representatives on August 24, Republicans in the Senate blocked adoption of the bill in the Senate on November 3.
Warnock has also worked on Senate voting rights legislation, cosponsor S. 2747, the Freedom to Vote Act. The bill includes several provisions that deal with voter access and voter registration, such as extending advance voting and creating a national standard for voter validation. Senate Republicans obstructed the bill on October 20.
Voting rights help preserve other democratic rights and are central to the US mission, according to Warnock.
“It’s about expanding communities,” Warnock said. “For me, it’s deeper than any partisan political argument. I’m sitting here knowing you won’t win across the way. But this idea of one person, one voice – it’s the alliance we have with each other as the American people, and we have to stand up for it with all our might. “
Warnock said politicians should push for voting rights legislation to restore confidence in the US government.
“We will continue to push the problem,” Warnock said. “But I think history will judge us harshly, and it should if we don’t find a way to do something about it.” We may have crossed a Rubicon that will prevent us from putting things back together for another generation. And so we have to do everything we can to pass these two bills. ”