Thank you to everyone who responded to our action alert calling on Senators Manchin and Capito to support the For the People Act. There’s good news. On Friday, Senator Manchin issued a statement reaffirming his commitment to protecting voting rights and strengthening our democracy.
In his statement, Senator Manchin announced his support for two weeks of early voting, ensuring safe and fair elections, and requiring secret special interest donors to reveal their identities. With 43 states, including West Virginia, trying to make it harder to vote, we need to encourage Senator Manchin to stand strong against these voter suppression efforts and ensure the The For the People Act stays robust in order to protect every American’s freedom and right to vote.
Senator Manchin – 202-224-3954 (Washington) or 304-342-5855 (Charleston)
With WV Secretary of State Mac Warner opposing and spreading lies about the For the People Act, it’s also important that Senator Capito know that Warner doesn’t speak for us, and that we won’t let lies and misinformation be used to restrict voting access. Please call or email Senator Capito.
Senator Capito – 202-224-6472 (Washington) or 304-347-5372 (Charleston)
An editorial by the Charleston Gazette-Mail said it well: “[W]hen some throw up their hands and shriek about overreach or enabling fraud, think about where they are coming from, especially if they support silencing the voices of voters who don’t want the same things they do. More importantly, think about why they are against making it easier for people to vote.”
As the editorial noted, Warner has shamefully perpetuated the Big Lie about widespread voter fraud and fueled the false narrative that the Presidential election was stolen by participating in ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in Charleston in December, and supporting a baseless lawsuit to overturn the will of the voters in several states.
Warner is also supporting a bill (SB 565) moving through the WV Legislature that would limit access to early voting, gut automatic voter registration, and make it easier to remove voters from the registration rolls. This isn’t embracing reforms that help West Virginians vote, modernize voter registration and make our voter rolls more accurate and secure.
After last year’s record-setting election, which had the highest early and absentee participation in state history, why are Warner and the Legislature taking away options that have served voters well?
More specifically, SB 565 would:
- Eliminate the most popular days of early voting (the Friday and Saturday before Election Day) that have been available to voters for nearly 20 years.
- Gut the automatic voter registration at the DMV before it has been implemented, even though AVR increases the accuracy of the rolls and reduces the costs of maintaining them. The WV Legislature passed AVR in 2016 with strong bipartisan support.
- Increase the frequency of voters being purged from the rolls for inactivity from every 4 years to every 2 years.
SB 565 also includes some provisions that would increase transparency by requiring disclaimers on push-polls and robo-calls to voters. While we generally favor measures that increase transparency and accountability in West Virginia elections, transparency shouldn’t come at the expense of democracy.
SB 565 passed the Senate last week and is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee. Voting rights are human rights, and West Virginia deserves better access to the ballot, not more hurdles.
We only have to look at the bill passed by the Georgia legislature and signed by Governor Kemp on Thursday to see how far Republican lawmakers will go to disenfranchise countless eligible voters, particularly in Black and Brown communities, and silence voters who don’t agree with them.
We can’t let the assault on voting rights in West Virginia and around the country go unanswered. Please take action today.