Ari Brouillette: Protecting the right to vote
Voting is the foundation of a functioning and legitimate democracy. To limit and suppress voting destabilizes the entire structure of a government built upon that foundation.
Any political party or individual leader that seeks to silence and suppresses the right to vote likewise loses legitimacy. We must embrace this truth as American citizens. We can deliberate genuine partisan issues such as tax policies, public health funding, immigration policy and a myriad of other topics that are open to debate but to embrace voter suppression as a partisan platform legitimizes blatantly un-American values.
Our current president has begun a process of actively creating obstacles to voting and at the same time not sought to strengthen election tools and processes. Suing states (Nevada, New Jersey) that offer mail-in voting, purging voter rolls, and mandating voter IDs are the tools of a tyrant desperately clutching at power and willing to win by any means at his disposal. It is the duty of a democratic government to demolish obstacles to voting. Demolishing these obstacles in ways that preserve and safeguard our elections from fraud and interference is paramount.
President Trump has alleged widespread illegitimacy and fraud in our elections but offered no proof. When the 2019 annual Threat Assessment report from the Office of National Intelligence actually presented proof of foreign interference in our elections the president rejected those findings and advised our intelligence community via tweet to “go back to school!” The effort to raise unfounded doubts in lawful and secure voting practices while ignoring the evidence of actual threats to our elections transforms the mental dysfunction of a fragile and insecure egomaniac into actual government policy.
Rather than something new, this battle for the soul of our nation that has existed since its inception. Some of the founding fathers of our nation proposed that voting should not just be limited to white men but to white men who owned property. The history of crafting a more perfect union has thus not been limited to implementing the intent of the founders but rather in implementing the promise of the words and implied ideals of the founding documents. The long history of improving our democracy has also been a battle for equal citizenship in the form of an equal vote for each citizen. This battle was fought in the form of the civil war and then in assailing the Jim Crow laws that kept black Americans from voting long after the abolishment of human bondage. This fight was met head on by the pioneers of the women’s suffrage movement and in 1920 the 19th Amendment prohibited states from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex.
Voter suppression still exists and it disproportionately affects minority communities, the poor, and women. Are we as a nation somehow incapable of making voting both easy and secure? These cancerous movements to delegitimize the validity of our elections and rob citizens of this most fundamental right is a national embarrassment. In 2019, the United States fell from the top 20 of the Economist’s annual Democracy Index report for the first time and our categorization transitioned from “Full Democracy” to “Flawed Democracy.” The light of democratic freedom that the United States pioneered and shone upon the world is dimming and it is up to us to restore the promise of our nation.
The efforts to weaken individual democratic rights and our shared democratic institutions are the diseased vestiges of slavery, of the effort to deny the humanity of our brothers and sisters, and to subjugate based on gender. President Trump is the odious and malignant purveyor of these diseases. To resist and deny these efforts cannot be a Democratic or Republican responsibility, it is an American responsibility. The conservative voters of this country deserve to have their views and beliefs represented but those conservative values cannot coexist with active efforts to undermine the foundational values of our nation.
Please make a plan to vote by November 3 and make your vote one that strengthens and restores the greatness of our democracy and the promise of our Constitution. Mail-in voting in California and Nevada County is safe and secure.
Register to vote at http://www.Registertovote.ca.gov.
Check your registration status, preferences, and voting history at http://www.VoterStatus.sos.ca.gov.
Track your ballot at http://www.WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov.
Ari Brouillette lives in Grass Valley.
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