Republicans are working across the country to find ways to make sure that your vote doesn’t count, or that you find your ability to vote severely limited. They’re gerrymandering districts and trying to make sure the next Congress is a Republican-led body.
While President Joe Biden and the Democratic body in Congress remains firmly behind the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, Republicans offer a replacement for the problem as a compromise: absolutely nothing. They will reform the Electoral Act of 1887 and clarify the way in which electoral votes are counted. They can transform the vice president into a spectator who is unable to overturn the results, and end the ability of members of Congress to object to the counting of electoral votes.
Tim Kaine, the Democrat from Virginia, acknowledges this is only 5% of the work that needs to be done, but it is something. Others point out it may be the only thing the Republicans are willing to do, instead engaging in stall tactics on any other electoral reform. The results: More people, especially BIPOC voters, will find their votes marginalized in upcoming elections. According to the last census, while the white population of the country has decreased by 8.6%, all BIPOC communities have seen population increases. To neutralize that, state legislatures have been on a roll. The compromise? Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia, points out they are cynical stall tactics designed to prevent us from looking at the real issue of voter suppression. We have to be honest: What Republicans are effectively working toward is about only one compromise, and it is one we’ve been through once before in American history. Three-fifths of the votes they dislike will be part of the count, whether it’s done through suppression or gerrymandering or lack of voting resources.
When America was founded, part of our Constitution laid out a plan to keep the southern states on board. The plan was that three-fifths of slaves would count toward the total population of a state when considering representation and taxation. This afforded southern states more representatives and power in the House of Representatives. While the southern states were afforded the extra power in government, slaves were never allowed to vote. Power in the state was withheld from the people who enabled it to happen because they were still being held as property with no rights of their own.
When we look at America as we stand now, Republican legislatures are working around the clock in many states to try and devise this same solution. They want growing states to maintain or increase representation while denying many the ability to vote.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. Today is Jan. 6, and everyone remembers the insurrection in the Capitol last year. Unfortunately, what may be forgotten is that the insurrection is ongoing in statehouses around the country, and Republicans remain committed to make sure they get representation in the House—for some, at least. Definitely not representation for all.