We must preserve voting rights before it’s too late
Kudos to Renée Graham for highlighting the danger the filibuster presents to our democracy (“Mitch McConnell is polishing his masterwork,” Ideas, Oct. 24). As a history teacher for 45 years educating a diverse group of students from seventh-graders to college freshmen, I often explored with them the collapse of Germany’s democracy and the creation of Hitler’s absolute power. How could a country so highly developed, cultured, and educated descend from a functioning democracy to a full-blown dictatorship in just a few years? As we struggled to make sense of those developments, I think we all believed that such events would never take place in the United States. After all, didn’t we have an enduring Constitution with balanced political power and strong checks against the emergence of a dictator?
Well, as it turns out, maybe not.
Seeing today how weaknesses in our political system, especially the filibuster, threaten to permit a minority to dominate the majority, the collapse of democracy in Germany becomes easier to understand.
In Massachusetts we know we can depend on US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey to fight to do away with the filibuster and work exhaustively for free and fair elections. To pass the Freedom To Vote Act, we must reach out to others elsewhere, exhorting them to work to end the grip of the filibuster and protect our democracy before it’s too late.
GOP is waging an assault on free and fair elections
Renée Graham’s recent column, “Mitch McConnell is polishing his masterwork,” aptly describes the Senate minority leader’s attempts to thwart democracy. Despite no evidence of fraud or a stolen election, Republicans persist in a concerted assault on free and fair elections.
The 2020 elections saw record turnout. About 20 million more people voted in 2020 than in 2016. Early voting and expanded voting by mail were popular. Turnout as a percentage of those eligible was the highest in 120 years.
Threatened by expanded access to the ballot, Republicans have enacted 33 laws in 19 states making voting more difficult: These laws impose new ID requirements, reduce early voting options, shorten time frames to apply to vote by mail, and increase the risk of voter purges (nearly 200,000 Georgia voters reportedly were wrongfully removed from the rolls in 2019). Even more threatening to free and fair elections are laws to move oversight of the counting of ballots into the hands of partisan legislators and their appointees.
The Freedom to Vote Act counters the Republican assault on free and fair elections, setting national federal election standards. In order to pass this important legislation, we agree with Graham’s recommendation to “abolish the filibuster” and strongly urge Democratic senators to move forward in protecting the most fundamental and sacred right of our democracy.
The writers are volunteers with Swing Blue Alliance.
Amid heartening signs among young voters, a sinking feeling persists
It was heartening to learn that voting by college students in the 2020 election increased to 66 percent from 52 percent in 2016 (“College students set record for voting in 2020 election,” Page A1, Oct. 28). Other research also determined that of young people ages 18-29, about 61 percent voted for President Biden and 37 percent Donald Trump. I expect we will now see legislators in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, and other states begin to push to raise the voting ageto at least 30.
There seems to be no end to the political machinations of the right to destroy our democracy, be it through armed insurrection or legislative maneuvering. Will the current conservative majority on the Supreme Court etch their legacy as the group that presided over the termination of more than 240 years of democracy by permitting voter suppression?
Lawrence J. Sperber