A crowd of about 100 rallied in Fountain Square Sunday, June 27, against voter suppression. The rally, convened by Indivisible Evanston together with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Mayor Daniel Biss, called for passage of the For the People Act.
The 10-part bill, introduced back in January by Rep. John Sarbanes, addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance and ethics. It expands voter registration through automatic and same-day registration, and access through vote-by-mail and early voting. It also would limit efforts by local election officials to remove voters from voter rolls.
The bill has been passed by the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate. Rep. Schakowsky urged rally attendees not to leave the fight for democracy in the hands of the lawmakers, saying that outspoken voters alongside grassroots efforts are what it takes to move the bill forward.
“What really matters is what’s happening here today and the grassroots support to make sure that every person, wherever they live, whatever color, whatever creed, can vote in the United States of America without a hassle,” said Rep. Schakowsky.
She went on to accuse the GOP of skewing the vote on Democratic issues, in reference to the varying rules around what delegates a majority vote, alleging that it obstructs the Republican voter turnout.
“The message that has been coming from Republicans, and still from Donald Trump, is that the whole system is rigged!” Rep. Schakowsky said.
Mayor Biss thought it most important that we truthfully acknowledge the broader threats to democracy, including the attacks on voting rights, equal representation and acceptance of the legitimacy in elections.“ These are attacks on the root of our democracy. And if those attacks are successful, our democracy doesn’t survive. That’s what’s at stake,” said Mayor Biss.
Mayor Biss went on to speak on the inclination of some Democrats in Washington to settle for a bipartisan solution, saying that while it’s beautiful when executed correctly, this isn’t the time. He contends that only after we have successfully averted our voting crisis can we begin to think about building alliances between parties.