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A victory for voting rights

Free and fair elections are the foundation of a functioning democracy. Any effort to suppress the rights of eligible voters is a threat to our country.

Here in Oregon, we have a safe and secure voting system that makes it easier – not harder – for citizens to cast their votes. With our vote-at-home system, we have some of the highest voter turnout in the nation. And our automatic voter registration reduces barriers that disproportionately target voters of color.

For too many years, Black Americans and other people of color faced barriers that denied them the opportunity to vote. It wasn't until the Voting Rights Act passed in the 1960's that all citizens had access to the ballot box. People like my late friend and colleague Congressman John Lewis risked their lives for that cause.

Unfortunately the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act, and voter suppression efforts are multiplying in states around the country. In 2021 alone, Republican state legislators have introduced more than 400 bills that would restrict voting access. And in 18 states they have passed more than 30 laws making it harder to vote.

Despite the misleading rhetoric about election safety, voter suppression efforts and voter identification laws disproportionately target disabled citizens, low-income voters, and especially communities of color.

This past week, House Democrats voted to protect our democracy by passing The John Lewis Voting Rights Act. This important law will help make sure that everyone who is eligible to vote may do so regardless of where they live, what they look like, or who they support.

This legislation is a major step forward in restoring voting protections and addressing the systemic racism that has influenced our election laws. It's a victory for voting rights, but we won't stop there. We now take the fight to the Senate.

Additionally, the House has passed the For the People Act, which would bring parts of Oregon's dynamic electoral system to everyone.

The Senate must pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting rights Act to preserve our democracy. Millions of voices are counting on them.

As John Lewis used to say, sometimes you need to make "good trouble." Let's keep up the fight and get it done for John – and for our country.

Suzanne Bonamici

Posted on August 30, 2021.

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Meet Suzanne

Suzanne knows what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet. She worked her way through community college, university, and law school. She started her career at Legal Aid and worked as a consumer rights attorney. Throughout her career she’s been a leading advocate for public education, protecting the environment, and civil rights. She’s fighting for a better future for all Oregonians.

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