In her landmark dissent when the Supreme Court struck down the Voting Rights Act, Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “When confronting the most constitutionally invidious form of discrimination, and the most fundamental right in our democratic system, Congress’ power to act is at its height.”

As we mourn Justice Ginsburg’s death, two crucial bills to make constitutionally guaranteed voting rights a reality have passed the House of Representatives, are languishing in the U.S. Senate thanks to Mitch McConnell and Susan Collins.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act would stop the voter suppression that has been rampant in recent years with 1,688 polling places closed in 13 states, often in minority communities, resulting in hours-long lines to vote. The second bill would allow the 705,000 residents of Washington, D.C. — home to more people than Vermont or Wyoming (and 46% of whom are Black) and paying more in federal taxes than 22 other states (including Maine) — enjoy elected congressional representation, just as other Americans do.

Donald Trump strongly opposes S. 631, Washington, D.C. Admission Act, and Susan Collins has again fallen in line behind him, declining to sign on as a cosponsor of the bill. Nor is she a sponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Angus King has a track record of supporting voting rights and election integrity and is a cosponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, as he is on the SHIELD Act and the Election Security Act. But he has yet to sign onto S. 631. Sen. King can and should continue to reinforce his support for the rights of all Americans to have a voice in our democracy, and support S. 631.

Equal voting rights for all Americans is now more important than ever and would be a fitting tribute to the memory of Justice Ginsburg.

 

Ellen Schneiter

Readfield


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