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Letter: Defend our democracy

As I write about the dangers facing our democracy in the United States, I feel like a modern-day Paul Revere sounding the alarm about the impending assault against our nation, our democracy, and our voters, particularly voters of color.

According to the Brennan Center of Justice, over 440 anti-voting rights bills were introduced during 2021 that would severely impact the voters’ ability to participate in elections.

Unfortunately, more Republican state legislatures are ready to act on these bills this year and even introduce more restrictive bills. In some states, there are even bills that would give the right to a partisan state legislature to throw out votes if they don’t agree with the outcome and reject the voters’ choice. Goodbye, fair elections!

Americans have always seen our country as the beacon of freedom across the world, but unfortunately, that beacon is now on life support. As true patriots, it is the duty of Americans to wake up, speak out and defend our democracy before it is too late.

The good news is that we have two bills waiting for a vote in the Senate that would go a long way toward stopping voter suppression and attacks on voting rights.

The Freedom to Vote Act is a group of bills that would set minimum, national standards for voter access. It includes critical reforms dealing with election security, ethics in government, campaign finances, fair redistricting and an end to gerrymandering.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore important election procedures that were discontinued in 2013 but have since shown to be very important in safeguarding voting rights against racial discrimination in low-income areas and communities of color.

Both bills would go a long way in counteracting the current spree of Republican voter suppression bills by setting federal voting policy across the nation.

Unfortunately, those two bills have been languishing in the Senate primarily because of Republican opposition and the lack of sixty votes to overcome the filibuster. There are a few key things that you can do now to show that all votes are important in order to keep our democracy.

Call or email our United States Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla asking them to support and vote in favor of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Urge our senators to vote for a “Carve Out” from the filibuster for these voting rights bills. This would allow the bills to be discussed and voted on by a simple majority.

Attend via Zoom any town halls on voter suppression that are offered by your elected officials and let your representatives know that you support these bills.

Call your family and friends in other states and ask them to contact their senators. Make it easy for them by supplying their senator’s phone number and email address.

To all those who wondered how Hitler could take over Germany, the slide to authoritarianism starts with the assault on voters’ rights, the denigration of a free press and a web of lies. We all need to join together as a legion of pro-democracy defenders to stand up to save our democracy and our country.

Conchita Marusich

Vice Chair, Napa County Democratic Central Committee

When the sun went down at the Vigil for Democracy, the crowd began singing "This Little Light of Mine" in downtown Napa on Thursday, Jan. 6. 

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