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Editorial: Senate must act to pass the For The People Act to restore democracy

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Editorial: Senate must act to pass the For The People Act to restore democracy

State Sen. Elena Parent.
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By State Sen. Elena Parent, 

Nationwide, voting rights are under attack. After their recent electoral defeats, Republicans have employed an ever-growing list of anti-democratic tactics in an attempt to hold onto their waning power in a changing nation. Now is the moment to make the changes needed to restore our democracy.

The right to vote is sacred. Democrats and Republicans alike should want more citizens to participate in elections. A representative democracy is founded upon the idea that those who are elected will, in fact, represent the will of the people. The more obstacles that Republicans place in between a citizen and their vote, the further we stray from both representation and democracy.

Last year, our nation watched in awe as a remarkable success story unfolded: in spite of the deadly pandemic, 159 million Americans turned out in November to exercise the constitutional right and make their voices heard – the highest turnout in a presidential election since 1900.

Rather than celebrate this democratic triumph, I watched firsthand as my Republican colleagues launched an assault on voting rights during Georgia’s 2021 legislative session, culminating in Governor Kemp’s signing of SB 202, an alarming law that restricts access to the ballot. Our democracy is under attack, and Georgia is a battleground. If we do not take action now, the same playbook will unfold across the nation.

Fortunately, in Washington D.C., House Democrats have passed the “For the People Act” (H.R.1, S.1), which will address many of the challenges, both new and old, that voters face.

H.R. 1 will protect voting rights, reduce the influence of money in politics and end gerrymandering. It will also ensure the fairness and security of our elections, by protecting against hacking and other potential threats, whether foreign or domestic, to our elections. The “For the People Act” would also shine a light on the influence of money in politics, reducing the power of special interests and big-money donors.

Whether you voted for Joe Biden, Donald Trump, or neither, you can and should support these changes. I firmly believe that everyone – whether a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent– should participate in the process, because that makes our state and our country stronger.

A persistent flood of disinformation, conspiracies and lies led millions of Americans to question the foundational principles of our nation and its democratic system. This loss of faith culminated in the tragic and horrifying events of January 6th, when a mob of individuals stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. I’m grateful that we have Senators Warnock and Ossoff fighting for democratic principles in Washington.

Senators must act to pass the For The People Act to restore our democracy and return the power to the people – where it belongs.

State Sen. Elena Parent is a Democrat representing District 42 in the Georgia State Senate. 

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