The Voice in Voting: The Importance of Representation and Truth

On Tuesday, January 11th, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to the grounds of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia to deliver a speech surrounding voting rights legislation. 

President Joe Biden gave a fiery speech in Atlanta, Georgia this past Tuesday. (Getty Images)

Atlanta is titled the “cradle of the Civil Rights Movement” following its influence for black leaders as they fought for voting rights, economic and education possibilities, and access to public facilities and establishments for African Americans.

President Biden stressed and urged Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, an act that draws from the previously blocked For The People Act by a Republican filibuster. 

Filibusters are political procedures that occur where one or more members of a Congress or Parliament debate over the proposed legislation in order to delay a resulting decision or prevent such decision from occurring entirely. 

Republicans argued that by placing these acts, states’ rights would be infringed, especially following their embrace of tighter voting restriction in a variety of states. Republicans have stated that they fear this act will further create opportunities for voter fraud and foster confusion that could obstruct the polls.

This act hopes to set a national standard to counter the plethora of new laws restricting voting in states with Republican-controlled governments, ensuring all Americans have equal access to voting. 

President Biden has be adamant in urging Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act. (Getty Images)

Specifically, it would obstruct efforts to restrict mail-in or absentee voting, title Election Day a federal holiday, and stop state legislators from redrawing districts in a way that activists say denies representation to minority voters. 

President Biden publicly endorsed the changing of Senate rule in order to pass voting rights legislation that is being blocked by the filibuster placed by opposing parties, in order to conform for the bills’ passage. 

“To protect our democracy, I support changing the Senate rules to prevent a minority of Senators from blocking action on voting rights,” President Biden tweeted Tuesday afternoon. 

The change to secure the passage of the President and his party’s desired bills, however, will not be easy.

The 2020 Election was extremely controversial following battle ground state Georgia’s blue switch. This has led for many legislatures to pass bills that have changed local voting laws. (BBC)

Changes as impactful as those have slim chances of gaining the support of all 50 senators who caucus (meet in support of) with the Democrats, a necessity if they were to overcome Republican opposition.

“Changing the rules will require the support of every single Democrat in the Senate, and at least two Senators have gone on record opposing major changes to the filibuster rule,” AP Government and Politics teacher Mrs. Vital-Valdes said.

President Biden continued by further urging Congress to pass yet another legislation titled the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The act intends to, similarly to the Freedom to Vote Act, supply further boundaries in order to eradicate voter suppression.

Voter suppression is a strategy used to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting. 

Many hope that the federal government will keep drawing the line to prevent voter suppression, while others believe that there is a possibility that the party in power at the time will ignore said actions if it is beneficial to them, the party, until they are out of office. 

The real issue however may lie elsewhere: lack of truth. 

I think the real issue is election integrity. Depending on the party in power, there will always be claims of fraud and duplicity,” Vital-Valdes said. “The process of counting and certifying votes needs to be more transparent; maybe the solution would be to have a non-partisan independent commission be responsible for this task.  This would help counter the distrust in government that currently prevails in our electorate, as well as the perception of political inefficacy.” 

Voting in states such as Georgia is pivotal, especially following the 2020 election where Georgia’s long standing “red” turned to “blue” in support of Joe Biden. 

Seemingly Georgia legislation has presented various bills to change the  voting laws following said election.

Minorities have countlessly fought for the right to vote. The battle lies amongst the legislators that will inevitably decide for these restrictions or lack there-of. (Getty Images)

“People have fought countless times to be able to vote, especially minorities including women and African Americans,” senior Claudia Michiels said. “For legislators to restrict voting rights based on non-traditional voting methods and actions as simple as passing out water and food is limiting and wrong.” 

The battle continues as President Biden and the nation alike await to see where their decisions lie, one that could either enhance or suppress the American civic duty that makes this country great: voting.

“I will not yield. I will not flinch. I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies foreign and domestic,” President Biden said. “And so the question is, where will the institution of United States Senate stand?”

Read President Joe Biden’s full speech using the link below. 

President Biden’s Remarks on Protecting the Right to Vote