While the foundation of our democracy is the right and freedom to vote, the backbone of our electoral system is the need for confidence in an election administered impartially. I want the free vote law passed not only because it will make it easier for all Americans to vote. I fear that if this does not work out, in many states election officials and election officials will be intimidated and frightened by this important work. If that happens, we will be crippled as a nation.
Our elections work as well as they do because ordinary people are ready to step in and make sure the elections are administered fairly. Poll workers and officials ensure that voters have a safe place to vote without intimidation, that ballots are protected, that ballots are counted.
My parents were scrutineers for years in Raytown, Missouri. It was not then and is not easy work today. Election day is usually long. There are a lot of moving parts. They were honest, ordinary people who were ready to participate in the electoral process because they believed in the system. Many times the candidate my parents checked on their personal ballots ultimately didn’t win. It made no difference. Each vote was protected and counted as it was cast. In every election, someone has won and someone has lost.
People like my parents kept the electoral process above reproach for generations. So I was horrified to learn that the 2020 election resulted in verbal and physical intimidation and harassment – some driven from their homes due to death threats – against election officials and election officials by disgruntled people who did not did not like the result of the election.
If we are to ensure a fairly administered election, election officials and election officials must be protected from intimidation and personal threats. The Freedom to Vote Act offers election officials and election officials, as well as voters themselves, specific legal protections against such nefarious behavior. It even provides for civil recourse to those who work the elections.
I haven’t heard of this kind of behavior happening at polls in Missouri, and I’m grateful for it. But that shouldn’t happen in any state. Access to fairly administered elections should not depend on the state in which a person lives. That is why we must pass the free vote bill.
We need our US senators to vote in favor of the law. We must protect our electoral system by protecting our election workers and our officials in every state if we hope to preserve free and fair elections as a nation.