Voter freedom across our country is under attack. The U.S. Supreme Court has cut away at the protections provided for in the Voting Rights Act, which had previously ensured that states could not set up discriminatory barriers to voting. Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight, says we are now living in the era of Jim Crow 2.0.
According to the national voting rights organization March On, in response to record voter turnouts, 48 states have introduced 389 bills to make it harder for people to vote, and many of these have already become law. Proposals include banning ballot drop-boxes and mail-in voting, restricting early voting, preventing election officials from promoting the use of mail-in ballots, dropping voters from the voting rolls and many other devious tactics. For example, you can now be fined up to $1,000 or spend a year in jail for offering food or water to people waiting in line to vote in Georgia. To the surprise of nobody, the impact of these new laws is particularly harmful to racial minorities, young people and people with disabilities.
No matter what we look like, or where we live, every eligible person in the United States should have the right to register, obtain a ballot, cast that ballot and have it count. Unfortunately, and outrageously, this is no longer true in many places in our country right now.
Our Jewish values tell us, “A ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted” (Babylonian Talmud Berachot 55a). According to Temple Israel of Boston’s Rabbi Dan Slipakoff, “A representative must do exactly that: represent their constituents, and be representative of the people they serve. These pernicious attempts to deter and deny citizens from voting run opposite to our strongly rooted beliefs that every individual is a sacred being, created in the likeness of God. We are commanded to hear the cry of the vulnerable in our communities, and we cannot stand idly by as our fellow citizens are harmed by hateful politicking.”
Here’s how you can engage in our fight to restore dignity to voters!
Register for the Tzedek Reflection event on Tuesday, Aug. 24, to talk about our Jewish communal response in support of voting rights. Over 100 people have already signed up from all across the state to learn how we can take action together. We’ll hear from national and state voting rights experts and get to talk about how individuals and synagogues in Massachusetts can have an impact all across the country.
Act now to restore voting rights in states that have already passed harmful laws:
Phone-banking: With our non-partisan partner, North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT), we’re currently calling 391,000 voters who have been purged from the North Carolina voter rolls and need to reregister if they want to continue to vote. Join us on Aug. 31 and Sept. 7 from 5:30-8 p.m. If you or your Jewish community want to participate on other dates through October, contact JALSA for more options.
We’ll keep adding projects as we engage with organizations needing help from Massachusetts volunteers.
Contact JALSA community organizer Maria Isabel Rosario at email@example.com and we’ll let you know how you or your Jewish community can join in JALSA post-carding campaigns, phoning and text banks, starting right now!
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