LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Help protect voting rights

Published 12:40 pm Friday, June 18, 2021

I served 20 years in the U.S. Army helping protect democracy.  Today, our democracy is threatened by Republican-controlled legislatures in many states, including Michigan.

Some proposed voter suppression laws would impede voting, especially for lower-income individuals and people of color by:

  • Reducing ballot drop box locations
  • Banning prepaid postage on absentee ballot applications
  • Prohibiting the Secretary of State from mailing absentee ballot applications
  • Giving partisan challengers stronger protections than poll workers, lengthening voting lines and enabling more improper challenges

Some legislatures are proposing laws that enable partisan legislators to overturn election results.

A recent statement by 100 scholars of democratic processes highlighted principles required for survival of democracy: Elections must be fairly administered and free of manipulation; All qualified citizens must have unhindered, equal voting rights; and Political parties, candidates, and supporters must accept and acknowledge the legitimacy of legally certified election outcomes.

Republican legislators indicate voter suppression laws ensure elections are free of fraud.  The New York Times contacted multiple Republican and Democratic election officials after the 2020 election.  All individuals contacted indicated there were no irregularities affecting the election outcome.

Two federally proposed laws would help prevent the attacks on our democracy by anti-voting laws.

“For the People Act” authorizes a number of voter protections: Automatically registering people to vote; Mandating more than two weeks of early voting; Facilitating voting-by-mail; Expanding absentee ballot drop boxes; and Restoring the voting rights of former felons.

The “John Lewis Voting Rights Act” restores the 1965 Voting Rights Act requiring states with a history of discrimination to get federal approval for new voting laws.

We must demand state legislators pass laws that make it easier, not harder, to vote; and we must urge our US Senators to safeguard elections by approving the “For the People Act” and “John Lewis Voting Rights Act.”


Ken Peterson