The Vote

As so many have said, we are now living in a dark time for democracy.  The forces of hatred, greed, and racial ultra-superiority have always been with us, usually operating in the undertones of our cultural discourse.  And now, with rage unleashed by the very people who should be leading us toward collaboration, and with the ease of the internet and social media for spreading vitriol, those toxic forces have risen to openly attack the promise of the patriots that every person shall have the equal right to pursue happiness, and they seem to be utterly dominant in the current landscape.

Their target is the very bedrock of democracy, the vote.  The Voting Rights Act, passed in 1965, has already been diluted, and is now in danger of being obliterated in practice.  The truth is that the democratic experiment initiated by the founders was always incomplete and subject to economic ambition and power; even so, our history has been that in our unique democratic system, voters could nudge us toward a more perfect union at the voting booth. 

And now, we must remember what Nelson Mandela told us: Things always seem impossible until they are done.  The history of the civil rights movement is one of some inching toward progress, reactionary setback, and then the determined continuation of effort. Thurgood Marshall kept arguing his point when SCOTUS declared for equal education in 1954 and many of the nation’s school systems resisted implementing the act; he finally prevailed, and, while not complete, the education of all children is improved.  MLK, Jr.’s followers kept battling.  We did get finally a voting rights act, even though it is still under attack.   

So in our own time of despair, as crucial elections loom in front of us, it is enormously important for all who cherish democracy to take a lesson from the Civil Rights leaders of just a few years ago.  We cannot give up, just because it looks so hopeless.  Whatever the unlikely chances of success, whatever the odds, whatever crushing feelings of helplessness and despair we suffer at every day’s morning newspaper, we must continue the fight. 

Philosophers tell us that the world we see is finally shaped by our own perceptions;  that is, hope resides within each of us, not in the media, polls, statistics about voting preferences, or the opinions of those around us who would have us just stop complaining and accept things as they so obviously seem to be.   

Each of us now needs to understand that the first steps toward justice are our own inner belief that it must come.  We need to make sure that we continue to believe that justice can prevail, that right will ultimately triumph, and that each of our small efforts are all part of a “mighty stream” toward justice as MLK, Jr., told us.

Believe in the lessons that the oppressed and disenfranchised have shown us through history.  Don’t let the setbacks discourage you. Keep your hope up, write and call legislators, talk to any one you can about the vast importance of this effort.  Give them inspiration against the odds, vote.  March, rally.   Keep going.  Vote.  Fight.   Vote.  Fight.   Vote.  

By Lou Levin, President, and the members of the branch Executive Committee

Demand Voting Rights

Dear Leaders and Friends, 

Our fight today is ensuring that every vote counts and every vote is counted. 

The simple truth is we cannot afford to wait one more day to ensure all Americans can participate fully in our political process. For far too long we have gone without the voting rights protections afforded us by previous Congresses and Administrations on a bipartisan basis.  The Supreme Court and legislatures around the country have stripped us of these protections we considered the fabric of our democracy. 

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act restores the integrity and legitimacy of our democracy.  The Freedom to Vote Act will additionally ensure all Americans have free and fair access to the ballot.  If the Senate can change the rules to pass the debt ceiling, they can do it for voting rights.  Democrats and Republicans alike must recognize that the cornerstone of our democracy is at stake and use every tool in their arsenal—including a filibuster carveout—to pass protections. 

  • NOW is the time to keep the pressure on the White House and your Senator. CLICK HERE to contact your Senator and demand voting rights! 
  • NOW is the moment to ensure the US Senate can consider, debate, and pass the bills that will protect our democracy and our vote. 
    • We want it to be crystal clear, we strongly demand changing the filibuster rules to make sure the two democracy-defining bills can be passed by the Senate and sent to the President’s desk for signature.  
  • NOW is the time for us to pivot to the election realities of 2022 and make it clear in States like Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan and many others that we will not stop until we win it all for our communities.  

At this critical juncture in our democracy, now is the time to march forward to march forward as a nation and ensuring our democracy reflects equity. Nothing is more important than voting rights when it comes to eradicating systemic racism and inequality. 

WE THE PEOPLE want and need to know our elected representatives are leading on all fronts and not leaving anything to chance. 

Fighting Forward, 


P.S. A Highlight of our Continued Work on Voting Rights …  

The NAACP has continued to lean in on the protection and expansion of voting rights. In the summer we joined the Fighting For Our Vote coalition (ACLU, AFSCME, AFT, NEA, AFL-CIO, SEIU) and focused on targeted states and U.S. Senators championing the passage of voting rights legislation. In Early November, in coordination with National Action Network, National Urban League, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, Fighting For Our Vote and the National Council of Negro Women, we produced a Democracy Scorecard. This scorecard graded US Senators on their performance defending voting rights; grades of A (pass), I (incomplete) and F (fail) were given based on their votes on the American Rescue Plan, the For the People Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act as well as their support for eliminating the filibuster. 

Members and volunteers from the NAACP and partner organizations delivered the scorecards in person, to select Senate offices praising the (A’s) and demanding that those who failed or had incomplete records on voting rights do better (I’s & F’s) in DE, FL, GA, VA and WI. We’ve kept the pressure on the Senate moving from 13 I’s in early November to 48 A’s (pass) with just two hold outs from Senators Manchin (WV) and Sinema (AZ). We must keep the pressure going. As Black leaders from across the country pressure the White House and Senate to take bold action on voting rights, we encourage you to stay in this fight. Please call your senator and tell them to pass voting rights. For more information, please go to

Derrick Johnson

President & CEO NAACP


NAACP | Empowerment Programs


Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed”

 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.