SB9 and Voter Suppression

When I woke up last Monday, I realized it was the first day of early voting for local municipal elections. I had been so inundated with getting the campaign for HD65 going, as well as helping some amazing local candidates with GOTV efforts for their races, that the fact that early voting was here had honestly fallen off my radar. When I realized what day it was, an unexpected feeling settled in: I was happy. I felt like someone had just given me a gift. I would like to say this feeling was normal for me, but it’s a response that has been cultivated through participation. It feels amazing to grease the wheels of democracy by volunteering for candidates you really believe in and then going to help vote them into office.

With so many attacks on our freedoms and democracy, it is important now more than ever to send a bold message to Austin and to Washington that we will not tolerate infringement upon one of our most basic rights as Americans. Voter suppression looks like many things. It looks like “redistricting” so the outcomes of elections are more favorable to certain candidates. It looks like spreading misinformation about voter fraud to prey on the fears of citizens. It looks like ensuring certain groups, who tend to be progressive-leaning, have a harder time finding places to vote near them. It looks like silencing our educators from even discussing anything related to voting. It looks like making polling places so few and the lines to vote so long, working citizens must choose between democracy or a day's wages.

Senate Bill 9 is a nasty piece of work intended to suppress the vote. The awful things in this bill read like an all-out assault on democracy. It contains vague language about arresting citizens for standing on sidewalks and in parking lots, all places where poll greeters can be found supporting their candidates and helping to provide guidance and moral support for voters. Many voters often need transportation to the polls. In an effort to assist fellow citizens, we have seen a mass effort by different groups to provide rides to the poll. SB9 would make it even harder for such groups to assist people without vehicles, the elderly, and the disabled in receiving rides to the polls. SB9 creates criminal offenses where none exist and increases punishment for existing offenses.

Voter suppression should be a source of concern for all citizens and a cause to fight for. I believe all power resides in the hands of the people. When lawmakers seek to silence the voices of the people they serve, they deserve to be replaced. Our vote is the most powerful weapon we have, and no matter what side of the aisle you're on, you should champion the ability of the people to be heard clearly and without obstruction.

The beauty of democracy and its preservation and progression is something near and dear to me. As your representative, I would guard the right of the people of this state to be heard without hindrance, and I would introduce and fight for legislation that would ensure the citizens of this great state would no longer have their right to be heard compromised by self-serving lawmakers.