The right to vote is foundational to our democracy.
The principle that lawmakers are elected by -- and accountable to -- the people is this country’s foundational principle. The mechanism through which that principle is expressed is our right to vote.
But our elections administrators must rely on a patchwork system that is understaffed, underfunded, and that relies on technology that is embarrassingly insecure and out-of-date. It is time to make voting in America easy, convenient, and secure.
And in order for a democracy to succeed, it needs to be accessible, transparent, fair, honest, and responsive. But unless we can ensure that our government is accountable to the people it exists to serve, then political and economic elites will continue to rig the system to benefit themselves, with the explicit purpose of further consolidating their wealth and power.
Nowhere is that more clear than Texas. Ever since Jim Crow -- and indeed, ever since Reconstruction -- Texas has severely restricted the right to vote. Those restrictions have explicitly targeted Black and Latino communities.
Poll taxes, literacy requirements, and grandfather clauses, voter ID laws, extreme racial gerrymandering, and laws that today are designed to make it hard to vote and hard to register to vote -- all were designed to keep Black people, Latinos, and even poor whites from having an equal say in our democracy. When those failed, armed vigilantes would resort to violence, often with the blessing of local authorities.
That pattern of corruption is not unique to Texas -- until recently, New York state had some of the country’s most restrictive voter registration laws.
But the Jim Crow south has largely borne the brunt. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was supposed to fulfill the promise of the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870, which states that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Representative John Lewis, one of Julie’s personal heroes and who became known as the “conscience of Congress”, called it “one of the most vital tools of our democracy.”
The VRA only came about because of the courage of an entire movement of people who demanded change -- those who rode Greyhound buses, knowing full well that they would be arrested, and who were arrested and served time in the Mississippi State Penitentiary fighting for the right to vote.
And it came at great price -- with atrocities like those carried out during the civil rights movement, when four young Black girls were killed by white terrorists in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, or during the Bloody Sunday attacks by Alabama state troopers on those who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
But immediately following its passage, the Voting Rights Act came under attack, and it has been under attack ever since, and, finally, it was gutted by the John Roberts Supreme Court in Shelby v. Holder, which allowed the former Confederate states to begin restricting the right to vote again without federal oversight.
Sixty years after Bloody Sunday, voting rights and democracy itself in America have entered an age of accelerated voter suppression and restrictive voting laws.
It is time to fight back.
We should bring every American into this process -- Republicans, Democrats, independents or none of the above -- by ensuring that we have Same Day and Automatic Voter Registration to reach our democracy’s full potential.
Automatic Voter Registration is as common sense and nonpolitical as it gets. Whenever anyone in this country gets a driver’s license, enrolls in classes at a public university, or applies for benefits like Social Security, they would be automatically registered to vote, unless they opt out.
We need to restore the enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act, end the partisan and racial gerrymandering that allows politicians to cheat the American people out of democratic representation, get the corrupting influence of big money out of our politics, and enshrine the right to vote in America once and for all.
You can count on Julie to take meaningful action to fight to enshrine the right to vote and to end attacks on voting rights more than any other candidate because of her firm belief that democracy exists to serve people, not politicians or corporations. In fact, she does not take a single dime from any PAC. So while other lawmakers compromise behind closed doors and allow their arms to be twisted, you will never have to worry whose side Julie is on. It will always be the people.
In Congress, Julie is committed to:
- 1. Ensuring that we institute nationwide Automatic Voter Registration, Same-day voter registration, preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds, and Online Voter Registration
- 2. Supporting and applying to co-sponsor the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4), which would restore and bolster the Voting Rights Act by undoing the damage done to our democracy by the Shelby v. Holder decision
- 3. Affirming and working to ensure that the For the People Act of 2019 (H.R. 1) is passed and signed into law, which would create a national voter-registration program, make Election Day a federal holiday, replace partisan gerrymandering with non-partisan commissions to draw electoral districts, and limit efforts to purge voting rolls.
- 4.Combatting draconian anti-voting laws that are used to disenfranchise communities of color, like Texas’ VDR law, voter ID laws, and politically motivated voter purges.
- 5. Amending Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, to make clear that any regulations that result in disproportionate impact on racial minorities are unlawful.
- 6. Making Election Day a federal holiday.
- 7. Improving voting accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
- 8. Fully funding states’ election cybersecurity systems to bring them up to date and to make them safe from attack, and requiring paper-ballot systems to improve accountability and election security, and whitholding funding from states that do not comply with the Voting Rights Act.
- 9. Restoring the voting rights of the formerly incarcerated.
- 10. Holding racist and corrupt legislators accountable, and if they will not comply with the law, ensure that federal oversight includes placing those bad actors under pre-clearance to ensure that every American has a voice and a vote.