The 2022 election broke recent American records in voter turnout- exceeding all midterm participation since 1970 except for that of 2018. And yet, only 46% of eligible voters made their voices heard
When American people don’t come out in force, our democracy suffers. Corporate-backed politicians are able to delay real change. Often, the populations with the lowest voting rates are those most affected by the status-quo policies of the establishment. It is vital to recognize that the politicians sitting comfortably in power are the same people who stand to benefit from marginalized communities not exerting their civic ability.
Voter suppression is a debilitating threat to American politics, with impoverished and BIPOC communities made victims of a political system entirely unsympathetic to their needs. Voter suppression is also a conscious act–a purposeful ploy by those in power to protect their interests. Our political system will never be people-centered until we empower those routinely ignored by our democracy.
In 2023 alone, state governments have worked tirelessly to deprive marginalized communities of their voting power:
- 80 bills in 23 states proposed to restrict mail-in voting
With our government’s failure to make election day a national holiday, many Americans simply don’t have the option to take time off work and wait hours in a polling center line. For many communities, polling centers are too far and inaccessible. Mail-in ballots are a vital alternative that allows greater participation among a diverse range of socioeconomic groups.
- 51 bills in 22 states proposed to impose stricter ID requirements (photo ID or documentary proof of citizenship) for in-person voting or registration
21 million Americans do not possess the necessary form of identification to vote, and this figure is dominated by impoverished people of color. The required documentation for registration or in-person voting can often be directly and indirectly expensive, while providing almost no benefit in preventing fraudulent voting or registration.
- A minimum of 27 election interference bills were proposed in order to further restrict voter access, based on fabricated election denial claims.
Other suppressive measures circumvent legislative approval, enabling even less accountability. Voter purges, which unjustly remove hundreds or thousands of largely BIPOC voters from registration lists, further disenfranchise communities. Gerrymandering is still common practice , allowing for incumbents to control redistricting and disempower specific neighborhoods. The most pernicious of all, however, is the legalized disenfranchisement of the formerly incarcerated, who have their legal right to vote directly stripped away by the state (roughly 4.6 million Americans).
Actions like these provide no beneficial returns for our democratic process. Almost all claims of voter fraud have been proven demonstrably negligible. Their true motivation lies in imposing barriers to prevent impoverished constituents from exercising their democratic right.
As a candidate who is running solely on the grassroots support of CA-34 voters, no lobbyist or corporate donor can stop me from attempting to empower impoverished and marginalized American voters. I will fight to pass legislation which protects voters, bans unnecessary voter ID requirements, prosecutes unlawful voter purges, consecrates mail-in ballot voting, establishes a federal election holiday, ends Gerrymandering nation-wide, and restores civil liberties to our fellow Americans who were formerly incarcerated.
The vote is our most powerful tool. To do nothing in the face of voter suppression is to idly watch as our very democracy becomes nothing but a tool to perpetuate the oppression and exploitation of our most vulnerable neighbors. It’s time for our system to reflect our needs as a society. It’s time for our politics to center the people.