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Letters to the Editor: Republicans are done with democracy. Don’t let them gut voting rights

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks outside the Capitol
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivers remarks at the Capitol on the For the People Act, a bill to expand voting rights, on March 3.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Nothing is more fundamental to our democracy than every citizen’s right to vote, yet Republicans seek to enact laws clearly designed to disenfranchise Democratic voters. The Brennen Center For Justice has counted more than 165 restrictive voting bills currently pending in 33 state legislatures. Rather than attract additional voters with new ideas, Republicans seek to eliminate Democratic voters by gerrymandering, cutting back on voting precincts in urban areas, and eliminating or restricting voting on Sunday, when many Black voters cast their ballots after church. (“Don’t weaken what’s left of the Voting Rights Act,” editorial, March 3)

At the U.S. Supreme Court hearing this week on the applicability of the Voting Rights Act to two such restrictive laws in Arizona, the Republicans’ concern about the system was clearly stated by the state GOP‘s lawyer: “It puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.”

The court ought to set aside voting restrictions that have the effect of disenfranchising minority groups. After all, the 14th Amendment is very clear: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Ken Goldman, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: One political party wants to improve voting access. The other wants to limit it.

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Republicans lost a few key states due to demographic changes and an effective “get out the vote” strategy by Democrats, and now the Republican Party wants to change the rules by limiting access to the polls. We must ask, to serve what purpose?

It is increasingly clear the purpose is to remain in control despite a changing America. To claim these changes are designed to prevent voting fraud is the greatest shibboleth of our time.

Please, justices, do not fall for this nonsense.

Tom Brayton, Long Beach

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To the editor: The parallels between voting and abortion rights are obvious and telling.

For decades, the true-believers’ efforts to convince a majority of Americans that abortion is always wrong have failed. So, the most radical among them resort to any means necessary to obstruct a woman’s right to choose.

Likewise, the Republican Party has tried and failed to convince a majority of American voters that its governing philosophy is superior. So, it resorts to any means necessary to obstruct the right to vote in order to maintain its minority rule.

The moral of the minority power’s story: If you can’t convince people to think the way you do, simply crush them.

Barbara Jackson, Cerritos

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To the editor: I am encouraged to see national Democrats putting forward many of the reforms that have improved voting in California.

So if the Senate actually passes the landmark voting rights act recently approved by the House, I sincerely hope that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will support elimination of the filibuster, which was used in the Jim Crow era to block Black people from access to voting.

Republican-controlled legislatures around the country are trying to return to those days, and democracy itself is at stake. I am grateful that Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) has already signaled his support for abolishing the filibuster.

Cynthia Freeman, Los Feliz

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To the editor: Expanding and protecting the freedom to vote benefits all Americans and should not be a partisan issue. The passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, brings us closer to actualizing a multiracial, inclusive democracy.

Americans across the political spectrum believe their government no longer works for them and support transformational change to our democratic systems. Once the system is un-rigged, Congress can finally enact policies on the issues that Americans care about most, like affordable healthcare and racial justice.

We have a long road ahead to dismantle the racist barriers intentionally built to exclude Black and brown voices in our democracy. The Senate must build on this momentum and pass the For the People Act so that President Biden, who signaled his support, can sign it into law and realize the true promise of American democracy.

Jana Morgan, Washington

The writer is executive director of the group Declaration for American Democracy.


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