Rep. Emily Kinkead: ‘In this month of love, remember to love our democracy, too.’
Photo: Office of Rep. Kinkead
As love permeates the air this time of year, I am focused on an aspect of our democracy that I love dearly: our sacred right to vote. It breaks my heart to acknowledge the reality that our beloved right is in danger. American heroes like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dedicated their lives to securing and expanding voting rights. We must do our part in defending them.
Over the past year – in Pennsylvania and across the country – Republicans have launched relentless attacks on voting access, specifically targeting Black and Brown communities, because the GOP has struggled to win their votes. Rather than accepting defeat with dignity, they are attempting to nullify decades of civil rights progress, like the Voting Rights Act of 1965, championed by Dr. King, that made discriminatory voting practices illegal.
It all began in December of 2020, when 64 state Republican lawmakers, including the speaker of the Pennsylvania House and the House majority leader, signed a letter demanding their representatives in Congress prevent Pennsylvania’s electoral votes from being counted for then President-elect Joe Biden. The move failed miserably – and it exposed the heinous intentions of some of our state’s most prominent Republican officials. Since then, Republicans have focused nearly all their resources on pushing numerous pieces of legislation designed to reduce voter turnout and undermine our election integrity.
Their most recent attempt – disguised as the “Pennsylvania Voting Rights Protection Act” – sought to restrict the use of vote drop-boxes, shorten the window for voter registration, and construct barriers to mail-in voting. Does that sound like they want to “protect” your voting rights?
But if our right to vote is really under attack, how can we possibly protect it? By voting! Loving democracy means exercising your vote in every election, every year, and letting those of us in elected office know that you are watching what we do. Because at the foundation of every functional democracy lies the right to participate in a free and fair election, accompanied by an engaged voting population. As stewards of our democracy, we must defend it from all attacks – and getting out to the ballot box is the best way to do it.
The 2020 presidential election saw record voter turnout. While this is good news, to fully protect voting rights we need to bring that level of participation to local and state elections as well. I encourage you to register to vote and cast a ballot in every election in which you are eligible. Together, through our collective voting power, I am confident we can fend off any assault on our democracy.
In this month of love, remember to love our democracy, too – get registered to vote, get your friends and family registered, and use your most sacred right in every election, every year! If you would like more information on voting rights legislation or need assistance with any state-related matter, my staff and I are happy to help you. Please call 412-321-5523 or email RepKinkead@pahouse.net.