Five Months Later
Five months ago, one of the most consequential elections in American history took place: the November 3, 2020 General Election. Amid a once-in-a-century pandemic, voters in Massachusetts and across the country turned out in record numbers. Communities that faced the greatest public health and financial harm from the COVID19 pandemic - Black and brown, low-income, and immigrant voters - worked tirelessly to have their voices heard at the polls. During a year of such tragedy, this moment of hope was deeply encouraging.
Five months later, the country is still grappling with this election. Here in Massachusetts, we are working to build off of the momentum of 2020 by implementing broad, impactful reforms like the VOTES Act and the FARE Act. After seeing new reforms like vote by mail and expanded early voting thrive last year, advocates, legislators, and voters are eager to make them permanent. Though our democracy is far, far from perfect, we have much to be hopeful about.
But 1,000 miles south in Georgia, democracy is in more dire straits. Last week, the state passed one of the most reactionary pieces of election legislation seen in decades. The law mandates that voters provide photo ID if they want to vote by mail. It also gives the state immense authority to remove and promote local election officials how it sees fit. Finally, the state has made it a crime to pass out food or drinks to those waiting in line to vote.
When asked about his thoughts on the new law, President Biden kept his remarks concise and clear: "This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end."
These events make one thing clear: democracy is never secure. We must always, always fight to ensure that voting remains as accessible and inclusive as possible. We must strive to empower those who go overlooked and underserved all too often, including Black and brown, low-income, and immigrant voters.
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- All of us at MassVOTE