When Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, it signaled that America was serious about protecting our democracy. It outlawed the discriminatory practices rampant in many states preventing African Americans from casting their ballots, and is among the most important pieces of legislation passed in our lifetimes.

Today, the right to vote is being suppressed and eroded in many states across the U.S. Amidst a cloud of hateful bigotry and lies about stolen elections, we are being led right to the edge of rebellion against democracy itself.

Politicians threatened by the shift toward a more Democratic electorate are reverting to the types of tools that limit access to political power – enacting restrictive voter ID laws, purging voter rolls, and blocking voting-by-mail during a global pandemic.

Watching our work erode in the face of new voter suppression laws should be beyond painful for our cohort. We fought for the protection of voting rights, and we continue to vote more than any other age group — people over 60 were about 50% more likely to cast a ballot in 2020 than those ages 18-29.

We can and should channel that resolve. As a first line of defense of democracy, we need to strengthen voting rights, so that all people can play an equal role in making the decisions we must make as a nation.

What you can do to help

1. Contact your senator

Please let your Senators know that the time has come to end the filibuster, at the very least for voting rights measures. Here’s a very good briefing on the fight over the filibuster (and its sad racist history). The Brookings Institution explains one possibility: a “democracy reconciliation,’ that would eliminate the filibuster for voting rights bill, just as ‘budget reconciliation’ lets us pass federal budgets without the filibuster.

Tell your Senators: please vote for the Freedom to Vote Act. And please do everything you can to insure that, if it fails, Senators then engage and defeat efforts to filibuster the bill. On the one hand, this compromise was largely authored by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia; on the other hand, he’s been reluctant to circumvent filibuster rules to have it. We need his colleagues to press him to act forthrightly!

2. Tell us your story

Can you use this form to send us a story of the first time you voted, or of some time you voted in your life that really mattered to you?

We’re worried that too many Americans have started taking voting for granted, and we want to build an archive of stories to help remind everyone of just how much it means.

We know some of you grew up in places where the color of your skin meant you couldn’t vote, and that others immigrated here from places without elections; all of us have stories about our lives as engaged citizens, which apparently some of our leaders need to hear. If you send them to us, we’ll figure out how to turn them into peaceful ammunition.

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