With reports of voters waiting in long lines across the country, Americans should feel a sense of pride. People made a plan and they are voting. They are exercising their most fundamental right of our democracy, despite the threats from Trump and the obstacles in many states.
In 2019, nearly 30 states introduced at least 87 bills to make it harder to vote. Florida even passed a law which was essentially a poll tax, that required felons to pay all outstanding fines in order to vote. The law was directly aimed at disenfranchising Black voters.
Mike Bloomberg donated $16 million from his political group to help pay off the ex-felons' debts. Nearly 70,000 new voters were registered in Florida as a result.
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the ACLU has filed 20 lawsuits and counting to ensure every eligible voter can vote by mail.
Voting by mail has been successful. Early voting numbers are shattering records. As of Thursday, 50 million people have voted early. Some estimates say that as many as 100 million American voters could vote early. We could also have the highest percentage of eligible voters actually cast their ballot since 1908.
Another encouraging sign about early voting is that one in five votes have come from someone who did not cast a ballot four years ago in the same state.
States are still enacting voter suppression laws, which ultimately get litigated in the courts -- courts that are packed with Trump's appointees.
More than half of registered voters surveyed in a YouGov poll Oct. 1-2 said they expect to see "an increase in violence as a result of the election." Another YouGov poll found that almost half of voters disagree with the idea that the election "is likely to be fair and honest."
With Joe Biden in the White House and a Democratic Senate, we can finally get voting rights protections passed and restore Americans' trust in our voting process.
As President, Joe has pledged to work enact the John Lewis Voting Rights Act as one of his first items on his agenda. "The battle for the soul for America has many fronts; the right to vote is the most fundamental," he said.
In the coming days, continue to encourage everyone you know to vote in any way they can. Early voting does not mean the election is over.
Let's not take anything for granted. Let's keep working until the polls close to make sure we elect Joe so he can begin his important work.
(Those who encounter or witness voter intimidation are encouraged to call the Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683), or the U.S. Department of Justice voting rights hotline at 1-800-253-3931)