On the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, it is important to take pause to consider how far this country has come, and how far we still have to go. Last year, on the House floor, the late Congressman John Lewis cautioned “our work is far from finished.” While the House passed a bill to reinstate federal oversight of state election laws stripped away from the Voting Rights Act in subsequent years, Republican Senators upended the bill’s passage, claiming voters no longer face suppression as they did 55 years ago.
Nevada Democrats know this is not true. And as the 32nd Special Session drew to a close last night, Nevada Democrats left the Capitol making history in the fight to expand voting access. Assembly Bill 4, which expands mail-in and in-person voting options, acknowledges the emergency situation gripping our state, as well as the communities made most vulnerable by this pandemic.
Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II released the following statement:
“We know coronavirus only exacerbates already existing racial disparities, and disproportionately impacts the health and financial stability of communities of color. Historically, it is these very communities that encounter deep, structural barriers to democratic participation. Last year, Senate Republicans refused to protect Americans’ right to vote. Now, Senate Republicans once again refuse to protect Americans, as they waffle on a coronavirus relief package and leave states to their own devices in fighting a global health crisis. Meanwhile, Donald Trump pursues a blatant strategy of voter suppression, using his platform to spread lies about mail-in voting and launching a frivolous lawsuit against Nevada.
“Voting by mail is safe, secure, and essential to protecting the right to vote in the midst of Trump’s failed pandemic response. Trump’s baseless lawsuit rings hollow when you realize that he and his inner circle have a long history of voting by mail. Once again, Trump and his wealthy, well-connected friends are playing by different rules, while trying to force working families to risk their health and safety to make their voices heard.
“Trump’s failure to implement a comprehensive national strategy to address coronavirus has led us to this juncture. Nevada Democrats are just cleaning up the mess Trump and Republicans left behind. With the passage of AB4, Nevada Democrats ensured no Nevadans must choose between their health and their constitutional right to vote. As Congressman John Lewis said, ‘the vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society.’ Thanks to the decisive action of our Democratic legislators, Nevadans’ voice of change will be heard this November.”