Dozens rally for voting rights in Santa Fe demonstration

by Dillon Mullan

reprinted from the Santa Fe New Mexican, May 9,  2021

At the intersection of St. Francis Drive and Cerrillos Road, a few dozen Santa Feans rallied Saturday in support of expanding and protecting voting rights.

Since the 2020 presidential election, 28 bills with voting restrictions, such as limiting absentee and mail ballots, identification requirements and banning same-day registration, are moving through 18 state legislatures, including Texas and Arizona, according to a study by the Brennan Center, a public policy institute.

“I think our democracy is under siege. We got within a hair’s breadth of an insurrection at the Capitol where they could have murdered senators. It’s important not to forget that,” said John House, president of the New Mexico branch of nationwide nonprofit RepresentUs.

“They’re trying to take away people’s voting right and make it hard to vote. We need federal legislation to override these state restrictions.”

To override state restrictions, Democrats are pushing for the federal For the People Act, which includes a host of reforms, including expanding automatic and same-day registration and voting by mail as well as independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting instead of gerrymandering.

The For the People Act also would require the president, vice president and certain candidates for those offices to disclose 10 years of tax returns.

On Saturday, RepresentUs and the Santa Fe branch of national nonprofit Indivisible organized a demonstration at the intersection of St. Francis and Cerrillos, where signs called for statehood for the District of Columbia, filibuster reform and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which is named for the late congressman and would strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“After 2020, all these states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona in 2024 can just say they think the president is illegitimate,” said Leslie Lakind, who held a sign that read, “2020 was a dress rehearsal.” “It’s a terrifying precedent.”