Written by Ilana Foggle

Today, we bring you good news.  

It is tempting to feel voiceless when the news is flooded with stories about states like Georgia, Kansas, and Arizona enacting restrictive voting laws. However, as our country grapples with verifiably untrue accusations of election fraud, states like Virginia and California are passing laws increasing access to the ballot box—paving the way for a brighter, more equitable democracy. 

A whopping 25 states have enacted 54 laws this year that restore, expand, and protect the right to vote. This is something to celebrate. 

Virginia made history this year, becoming the first state in the nation to pass their own version of the Voting Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, which not only prohibits discrimination in election administration, but also allows voters to sue in cases of voter suppression. California passed a bill requiring mail-in ballots to be sent to every active registered voter in the state and authorized a vote-by-mail tracking system for voters. Washington and New York restored voting rights to people with past convictions, while New Jersey and Kentucky codified in-person early voting. 

There is an apparent difference in voting rights perceptions depending on the state. On one end, some state legislatures and their lawmakers have falsely perpetuated a narrative that our nation’s election security is being threatened, opening the door for increasingly restrictive voting rights laws, such as voter ID requirements and restrictions on mail-in ballots. 

Meanwhile, other state legislative bodies assert that there is no proof of voter fraud and increased voting access strengthens our democracy and gives underrepresented and historically disenfranchised voters the long overdue rights they deserve. 

That said, pro-democracy legislators are not the only ones to thank for passing voting rights bills. The truth is, voting rights advocates on the ground, like ourselves, have been using public pressure and grassroots organizing for years to expand voting access across the country. And, guess what? It’s working. 

So, let’s take a breath, celebrate our wins, and continue fighting for our democracy. 

We have a long path ahead of us as states across the country continue to pass restrictive voting legislation. In the past year, 18 states have passed 30 laws that restrict voting access. These laws will keep coming, unless Congress chooses to act.

On Tuesday, August 24, the House of Representatives passed the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, restoring protections against voter discrimination and suppression. The bill faces an uphill battle as it heads to the Senate, but it is not the only voting rights bill on the docket. 

Last March, the For The People Act, a comprehensive voting rights bill expanding voting access, banning partisan gerrymandering, and changing campaign finance laws to give the power back to the people, passed the House of Representatives, but was stalled in the Senate due to the Jim Crow era filibuster. 

This is where you come in.

On August 31 and September 2, we are hosting national phone banks to pass the For The People Act and urge Senators to take a stand to protect the right to vote. No person alone can make change happen, but together, we can pressure the Senate to pass necessary legislation to restore our voting rights. Sign up for one of our phone banks here.

In the wise words of the late, great Representative John R. Lewis, “the vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have.” Now, let's get into some good trouble—together.