U.S. House Takes Step to Restore Voting Rights

Guest Opinion//March 16, 2021

U.S. House Takes Step to Restore Voting Rights

Guest Opinion//March 16, 2021

Vote in a political campaign concept with a graphic element icon of voting as a jigsaw puzzle that is complete representing democratic elections organisation and campaigning for government positions of power between conservatives and liberals.

In Arizona and across the nation Republican politicians are engaging in a power grab – they are actively working to suppress the vote and discriminating against minority communities to stop regular people from having a say. Now is the moment to make the changes needed to restore our democracy.

In the 2020 election cycle, the efforts to keep citizens from voting were outrageous. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to limit the number of vote-drop boxes in large Texas counties made it unnecessarily difficult for Texans to exercise their right to vote safely during the Covid pandemic. And just recently, here in Arizona bills to make it harder for people to vote by mail, which has been the way most voters have participated for nearly a decade, made it out of the Senate.

Daniel Hernandez

Fortunately, Democrats in the U.S. House just passed the For the People Act to heal our democracy. The For the People Act is a game-changing piece of legislation that will reduce the influence of money in politics, crack down on political corruption, ensure accurate elections, and protect voting rights.

The For the People Act would address many of the challenges voters saw in the 2020 election cycle by stopping extreme voter suppression and protecting our right to vote. These commonsense reforms will benefit everyone – whether you voted for Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

Just as important, For the People Act would ensure our elections are accurate by securing our voting systems to prevent hacking and potential foreign and domestic threats to our elections. It will make voting more convenient for working people, seniors, members of the military, and others who move often and have a hard time keeping their registration up to date by automatically registering eligible citizens to vote in the state they reside.  H.R.1/S.1 would work in tandem with the John Lewis Voting Rights Act by strengthening access to the ballot box in minority communities where voting rights have been under attack.

Beyond voting rights, the For the People Act would shine a light on dark money in politics and take the power away from wealthy special interests and return it to regular people. Washington has never been more broken. People are being told by elected leaders to doubt the security of our elections, a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, and special interests are still setting the agenda. It’s time to restore our democracy.

In a time when our country is more divided than ever, I’m grateful we have leaders in Congress like Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema fighting to break the gridlock, make progress, and save lives. We need reforms like the For the People Act to move forward.

Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson, represents Legislative District 2 in the Arizona House of Representatives.