Muriel C. Griffin: A democracy depends on the votes of all

  • In this April 3, 2019, file photo, Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York. AP

Published: 7/22/2021 12:20:44 PM

Stacey Abrams in her book, “Our Time is Now,” writes to warn Americans of the various forms of voter suppression. Groups of citizens can be excluded intentionally to keep them from voting. When people do not get to express their needs through voting they lose the benefits of a democracy. Losses happen in programs and structures related to health, schools, transportation, safety and other matters of life.

She details the means of suppression during voting registration, in ballot locations and schedules, and census counting. She also points to hidden schemes such as gerrymandering, Electoral College manipulation, and authoritarian populism. These forces also cause people to become confused, discouraged and fearful to show up at polls.

Abrams, an African American woman, is an expert on fair voting and civic engagement and heads For The People Act. She has researched voting practices across the United States. Her book’s introductory cover states that the book “argues for the importance of robust voter protection, an elevation of identity politics, engagement in the census, and a return to moral international leadership.”

Identity politics is defined in Wikipedia as “a tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics.”

The subtitle of her book is “Power, Purpose and the Fight for a Free America.” In her run for governor of Georgia, Abrams demonstrated the necessity for Black, brown and marginalized people to organize and fight for what is right. She includes a playbook of ways for all citizens to address the forms of voter suppression.

Road blocks that keep segments of our citizens from voting is to prevent the rich potential of our freedom and the influence of a strong democracy. The right to vote should not be the concern only of Black, brown and marginalized people; we should all value and join in the urgency to be an informed and inclusive electorate.

All people need to work with diligence for the moral values of fairness and decency. I trust that there is a desire for equity and justice in our country and together we must have the will.

Muriel C. Griffin

Holyoke




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