Oct 07, 2022
In response to former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party's full-fledged assault on free and fair elections, voting rights advocates have planned more than 70 pro-democracy rallies around the United States, where people will demand accountability for the GOP's attacks along with federal protections to ensure ballot access and respect for electoral outcomes.
"Trump and MAGA Republicans... have shown they will break the law and engage in violence in order to gain and stay in power."
A full list of events--held between October 13-23 in major metropolises including Houston and Phoenix as well as smaller cities such as Kenosha, Wisconsin and Allentown, Pennsylvania--can be found at ourfreedomsourvote.com.
Organized by local volunteers in collaboration with Common Defense, Public Citizen, Indivisible, Our Revolution, Service Employees International Union, and the Not Above the Law Coalition, the events will feature stark warnings about the growing threat of right-wing authoritarianism and calls to action from civil rights and union leaders, election officials and poll workers, and state lawmakers and members of Congress.
"Bipartisan investigations by the U.S. House January 6 Select Committee have shown that former President Donald Trump and his allies engaged in a criminal conspiracy, knowingly made false claims, and incited a violent attack on the Capitol in order to overturn the 2020 election and stop the peaceful transfer of power," organizers said Thursday.
"The same individuals are continuing work to sabotage our elections: They are changing state laws, threatening state officials, and packing election administration offices so that they can have the final say over election results," organizers continued. "They are continuing to undermine our freedoms and our democracy on every level. They must be held accountable."
The purpose of the rallies, they added, is "to highlight the local impacts of the hearing revelations, and fight ongoing threats to our freedoms and our vote, including efforts to pass anti-democracy legislation in state houses, run election denier candidates for office, and intimidate election officials."
Since Trump launched a coup attempt following his loss in the 2020 presidential contest, GOP-controlled states have enacted dozens of voter suppression laws and redrawn congressional and state legislative maps in ways that disenfranchise Democratic-leaning communities of color and give Republicans outsized representation, which could help them secure minority rule for years to come.
As of September 13, over half the country--55% of the population, living in 27 states--had an election denier running to oversee their elections, according to States United Action. Election deniers are on the ballot for the November 8 midterms in 50% of gubernatorial races, 44% of races for secretary of state, and 33% of races for attorney general. In a trio of states-- Alabama, Arizona, and Michigan--candidates who believe Trump's "big lie" that the election was stolen are running for all three top statewide positions.
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in 33 states have introduced at least 244 bills that would interfere with election administration by usurping control over results; requiring partisan or unprofessional election "audits"; seizing power over election responsibilities; establishing onerous burdens for administrators; or imposing draconian criminal or other penalties. Twenty-four of those bills have been signed into law in 17 states.
In addition, right-wingers are increasingly targeting election officials in a bid to undermine future elections. According to a survey conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice, one in six election officials have experienced threats related to their job, and 77% say that they feel such threats have increased in recent years. Twenty percent of election officials intend to step down before the 2024 election, with many citing ongoing threats and intimidation.
Voting rights advocates have implored Senate Democrats to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster rule and pass federal legislation safeguarding the franchise over objections from the GOP minority, but a handful of corporate-backed members of the majority party, including Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.), have refused.
Warning that "our very democracy" is at stake, those who planned the upcoming rallies said: "We want accountability for January 6 and the ongoing attacks on our freedoms. We must protect our elections--the voters, the election officials, and a free and fair process."
"Trump and MAGA Republicans," they continued, "have shown they will break the law and engage in violence in order to gain and stay in power."
"Those who continue to support Trump's behavior are using their power to take away our freedoms and fundamental rights," they added, "including reproductive rights, marriage equality, separation of church and state, gun safety, and more."
In its current term, the right-wing-dominated U.S. Supreme Court is considering two cases--Merrill v. Milligan and Moore v. Harper--that threaten, respectively, to exacerbate map-rigging and give state lawmakers virtually unchecked power to oversee and potentially skew federal elections.
"This is wrong," said the pro-democracy coalition behind the events that begin next week. "In America, voters decide elections."
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