January 18, 2022/Media, Press

Triangle Tribune: We must protect the right to vote

Following President Biden and Vice President Harris’ speeches in Atlanta, Georgia last week urging Congress to pass legislation protecting all Americans’ right to vote, North Carolina Democratic Party Vice Chair Floyd McKissick penned an op-ed in The Triangle Tribune on Martin Luther King Jr. Day highlighting the need to safeguard access to the ballot and fair elections in North Carolina.

The Triangle Tribune: We must protect the right to vote

  • Today, we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King fought for and embodied the ideals of our nation’s promise: a nation where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, communities take care of one another, and democracy is strong.

  • My family had the honor and privilege of knowing Dr. King and other leaders of the civil rights movement. My father, the late Judge Floyd B. McKissick Sr., marched with Dr. King at the famous March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, where Dr. King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. As a result of my father’s advocacy and involvement, I was fortunate to have a front-row seat and to observe the making of history. My parents instilled in me the courage to stand up for my principles, convictions and beliefs, and to fight for them with passion, even if sometimes you may be fighting a sea of opposition or standing alone.

  • Still, surprising as it may seem to some, our fight for voting rights and equal access continues today. Republicans spent all of last year launching racist anti-voter attacks in response to the Democratic victories in 2020, and they aren’t slowing down or giving up. Just this past week, a three-judge panel in North Carolina ruled to uphold extreme, partisan gerrymandered maps after Republicans lied to their colleagues in our state legislature by promising a fair and transparent redistricting process.

  • That’s why President Biden and Vice President Harris recently visited Atlanta – the cradle of the civil rights movement – to forcefully defend the fundamental right to vote. Together, they called on Congress to stand on the right side of history and pass voting rights laws, like the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, that prevent voter suppression, ensure full access to voting by mail, expand access to drop-boxes and more. Their speeches made it abundantly clear: the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills.

  • ​​Yet, Senate Republicans have blocked the way and oppose even debating it. The president made an appeal to Republican leaders who believe in the rule of law to restore the bipartisan tradition on voting rights. If the sincerity of the motives of the Republican Party have ever been questioned, their relentless assault on voting rights has shown their true intentions.

  • At consequential moments, history presents a choice. Lawmakers have a choice to make on which side of history they stand on. Combating Republicans’ lust for power, their direct attacks on voter suppression, and use of gerrymandering in 2022 to rig elections is going to take Democrats coming together to spread our message to voters from across the state. There is no greater way to honor Dr. King’s legacy than through service and action – starting with taking action to safeguard our democracy.

  • The right to vote is sacred, and as that right is being threatened, it is up to us to mobilize and continue the fight for fair elections and voting rights.