LETTER: We Must Safeguard the Right to Vote

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Dear Editor,

I am a voter in South Orange and have been active in “get out the vote” efforts since 2016. As a child of the sixties, I am increasingly horrified by recent efforts to disenfranchise voters and return to the days preceding the civil rights era. Those of us who believe in democracy must act.

June 25, 2023, marked the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision to remove a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that had established checks and balances to prohibit voter suppression. SCOTUS’s decision in the case known as Shelby v. Holder has opened the floodgates to efforts across the country to implement practices that restrict the freedom to vote — especially for voters of color, poor people, young and old voters, and those who have been convicted of a crime but have fully served their prison term. Restricting Sunday voting to stop “souls to the polls” programs; curbing access to voting by mail; changes to polling locations; requiring burdensome photo ID; preventing students from voting on college campuses – these are all provisions within restrictive voting laws passed in 11 states, just in the last 6 months. Moreover, by curbing voter participation, we are left with minority rule – with frightening effects on women’s rights, gun safety, environmental policies, and more.

We must fight back against an elections system where the right to vote depends on your state and your race. Now is the time to push for federal, state and local action to safeguard the right to vote and restore the Voting Rights Act. Contact your House Member, Senators, and State legislators. Insist that they protect and strengthen everyone’s right to vote by passing Voting Rights legislation.


Valyrie K. Laedlein
South Orange

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