….As the results of the 2020 presidential election were being certified by local officials, there were increasing attempts to delegitimize those results based on allegations of widespread voter fraud.
Numerous legal attempts failed to demonstrate such fraud and state and federal judges and Supreme Court justices dismissed case after case based on lack of demonstrable evidence and unconvincing legal arguments.
Fraud was not a factor in the election results. Nevertheless, despite such determinations, unproved allegations about fraud have continued to be claimed by various sources and precipitated an unprecedented wave of violence and insurrection.
Concerns about the integrity of the voting process have also driven states to develop and implement new voting procedures and requirements. The state of Georgia, for example, passed voting “reforms” designed to ensure security of elections and to restore voters’ confidence, but the overall effect is one that suppresses voting rights.
Provisions of the bill include using voter identification, reducing the deadline for mail-in ballots, and decreasing the number of drop boxes for absentee ballots. Furthermore, the bill bans people from providing food and drink to a voter and restricts buses and other readily moveable facilities to emergency use only. These measures will likely have disproportionate impacts on the elderly, persons with disabilities and communities of color.
Other states such as Florida recently passed similar constraints, and more than 50 restrictive bills are progressing at various stages through legislatures in 24 states….
Yet, American history is a complex and contested one: systemic racism, discrimination based on sex, class, ability, religion and other forms of social sin have compromised and denied individuals, groups and communities the right to vote. Bulwarks of voting rights have been challenged in recent years, including the Supreme Court’s dismantling of key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in its Shelby County v. Holder decision (2013).
Catholics are called to confront injustices, to uphold dignity and to promote the common good. Forms of voter suppression deny the full humanity of person, break down the solidarity among persons and communities and subvert individuals’ rights and responsibilities to contribute to and benefit from the common good.
Voter suppression laws often weaken the authority of local officials and communities, which violates the principle of subsidiarity. Equally pernicious, voter suppression laws deny voters the ability to exercise their consciences in faithful citizenship….
State Catholic Conferences must mobilize all their legislative efforts across their respective states to involve Catholic voices in decrying the purposeful destruction of ample voting possibilities in all elections. The conferences need to activate their Legislative Action Networks.
The above comes from a May 8 story by retired Cardinal Roger Mahony published by Catholic News Service.