An attack on democracy in Georgia

March 27, 2021

I have spent my entire career working to improve policies around food, housing, the environment, criminal justice reform, voting rights, and much more. Throughout this time, I have seen bright rays of sunshine and dark clouds of defeat. But the issue that will overshadow them all for years to come is the fate of our democracy.

The assault on our U.S. Capitol in the effort to overthrow our democratically elected government still hasn’t fully sunk in. It’s like a bad nightmare that lingers in the back of your mind. This week, it was brought back by the actions in Georgia by Brian Kemp and others to reinstate Jim Crow era election procedures. What we witnessed Thursday was the most naked attack on our democracy since the Klan killed Black Americans for voting and those who helped them.

Some of the most egregious assaults in the law include: 

  • Prohibiting people from taking food and water to voters waiting in long lines; lines that have traditionally been created by oppressive republican policies. 
  • Requiring mail-in voters to include their driver’s license numbers or other documentation to verify their identities instead of just using signature verifications.
  • Restricting the number and locations of ballot drop boxes.

Because of gerrymandered legislatures and a fanatic block of republican voters convinced that Donald Trump was elected president (they're wrong), we are watching an unprecedented assault on the democratic process orchestrated by the insurrectionists and Trump acolytes. If this brazen attempt at one-party rule is not checked, the chaos of the January 6 mob assault will be institutionalized, and I shudder to think where it leads.

Unfortunately, what is happening in Georgia isn’t unique. Dozens of Republican state legislatures are actively trying to make it harder for Americans to vote by gerrymandering them into unrepresentative districts and undercutting the ability of people to select their elected officials, rather than elected officials selecting their voters. 

I’ve been working to make it easier for people to vote since I was a college student leading the campaign in Oregon that fueled the passage of the 26th Amendment to lower the voting age. Earlier this month, I was proud to cast my vote again for H.R. 1, an important bill to protect and expand voting rights which includes provisions that I incorporated to bring Oregon’s successful vote-by-mail model nationwide and establish automatic voter registration.

It’s clear that the sanctity of our democratic process is in the balance. There has never been a more urgent demand for the Democrats to unite in the Senate to overturn the filibuster and protect the sacred right to vote.