Every Voice Matters. Every Vote Must Count.
The late Congressman John Lewis often reminded us that “the vote is precious.” Congressman Lewis understood the truth behind that sentiment better than most: Like many in the civil rights movement, Lewis shed blood to ensure the right of every American to vote. He, along with suffragists who worked tirelessly to give women the vote a hundred years ago, understood the power, and the importance, of two points. First, every American must be allowed to cast a vote, and second, every one of those votes must be counted, because all American citizens count.
More than 130 million votes have been counted, but more remain. From the start of early voting through yesterday, Americans of all backgrounds stepped forward, insisting that their voices be heard and their votes be counted, as our democracy demands.
Across Public Justice’s work, one fundamental principle guides us: Every voice matters, every community deserves to be heard and no one should be stripped of their political or legal rights. To those who would exclude and block the votes of those whom they suspect might disagree with them, we join with millions of Americans who insist each and every vote cast in this election must be counted.
To those who would dismiss, disrespect and disenfranchise the votes of the American people, we say that this puts the very idea of free and fair elections in jeopardy. It is imperative that our leaders – including our legislative bodies, and our courts – make it clear that every vote must be counted and then work to ensure that every vote is, in fact, counted. Anything less is a betrayal of democracy and the Rule of Law.
The past four years have been witness to a brazen attempt to silence and erase communities across our country. Black communities have faced unchecked police violence, brutality and murder and continue to be impacted by systemic and pervasive racism throughout our government and our country. LGBTQ people have lost legal protections that guarantee their right to healthcare and more. The voices of disenfranchised communities in rural America have been drowned out by the factory farms that now pollute the water they rely upon and the air that they breathe. Consumers who have been cheated by predatory lenders, and workers who’ve had their wages stolen, have too often found the courts closed to them and government agencies working against them. Our judicial system looks less and less like the vibrant and diverse country it serves. In each of these areas – and so many others – Public Justice has fought to give voice to the voiceless and build the political power of those who have been forced into the shadows and margins of our country.
Today, we join millions of Americans across the United States in demanding that our leaders ensure every voice is heard. This is non-negotiable: Every vote must be counted. If that doesn’t happen, we are all – regardless of political affiliation or background – in danger of soon being silenced.
The suffragist Abigail Scott Duniway asked the young women of her generation to “remember that every inch of this freedom was bought for them at a great price,” that “the debt that each generation owes to the past it must pay to the future.” The freedom of future Americans depends upon what is done in the days to come.
We owe it to her, the late Congressman Lewis – and to all who fought to gain the precious vote our democracy depends on – to ensure that every person, and every vote, counts. Anything less is both unacceptable and un-American.