Heading into the 2022 midterms, the Democratic party holds a slim majority in the House and an even smaller 50-50 one in the Senate (depending on how Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema feel that day). With the Senate yet to take action on the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, much of the work falls to grassroots movements and organizations.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama stated in a letter titled “Fight For Your Vote” that her voting rights group When We All Vote, will work together with other civic organizations to register a million voters ahead of the midterms.
The letter, which ran as an ad in the Sunday New York Times, also stated actions to train at least 100,000 volunteers to help people register and recruit thousands of lawyers to protect voters in states where “the freedom to vote is threatened.” Organizations such as the NAACP, Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight Action, Voto Latino Foundation, and 27 others signed in solidarity.
In her letter, Obama referred to historical examples throughout history to show the fight for voting rights in 2022 is worth the work.
“Generations of Americans have persevered through poll taxes, literacy tests, and laws designed to strip away their power — and they’ve done it by organizing, by protesting, and most importantly, by overcoming the barriers in front of them in order to vote. And now, we’ve got to do the same,” Obama wrote.
Obama added: “We must give Congress no choice but to act decisively to protect the right to vote and make the ballot box more accessible for everyone.”
Obama also noted the Jan. 6th Capitol attack and the recent rash of anti-voting rights legislation passed in southern states:
“One year ago, we witnessed an unprecedented assault on our Capitol and our democracy,” Obama wrote.
“From Georgia and Florida to Iowa and Texas, states passed laws designed to make it harder for Americans to vote. And in other state legislatures across the nation, lawmakers have attempted to do the same.”
Right now, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to hold a vote in the Senate on a potential filibuster change by Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17th. It would provide a special instance where the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act could pass by a majority vote.
Given that the Republicans have no intention of enhancing any voting protection, this is the only route before midterms get here. Grassroots activists have come to the rescue before, but you can’t out-organize laws. Hopefully, somebody talks some sense into Sens. Manchin and Sinema before the vote takes place.