This is the opposite of what we should be doing | Three Things Thursday

Brett Maney
Senior Communications Manager
Unite America
Team
February 4, 2021

Did you know that this week, after years of fighting for fair maps, the commissioners for Colorado’s first ever independent redistricting commission were announced?

Or that last month, Republican governor Larry Hogan announced a bipartisan redistricting commission, made up of Republican, Democrat, and independent appointees? 

And in Ohio, redistricting kicked off with a new slate of reforms designed to limit the ability of legislators to carve and cut districts at will?

Across the country, Americans are fighting for fair representation and equal rights. And it's never been more clear just how important these efforts are to ensure our Republic puts voters first.

Here are three things to think about this week: 

  1. Unite Arizona is up and live!

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you’ve probably heard about our state program in Virginia, where our Virginia team has been working to pass redistricting reform in the Commonwealth; or maybe you’ve read our blogs on Unite Colorado about putting voters first. Well we’re excited to announce that we have a new state program that’s launched: Unite Arizona

Working in the Grand Canyon State and led by the incomparable Luis Acosta-Herrera, Unite Arizona is working to protect the rights of voters and build better governance for all Arizonans. This week, Unite Arizona published a new blog about a piece of legislation making its way through the state senate that would restrict voters’ access to the ballot box. SB1069 is an effort to change the state’s massively popular (and successful!) Permanent Early Voting List (or PEVL),

Checkout the first ever blog from our team in Arizona, and learn about PEVL, its success, and how SB1069 would hurt voters. While you’re there, check out the Unite Arizona website (including the Spanish language version!) and the state of reform in Arizona. 

  1. Reform is the center of it all.

It’s a phrase we use often at Unite America: political reform is the one issue that impacts everything else. When it comes to solving the big problems facing our country, the gridlock in our political system has become a blocker for any solution to succeed. Whether you’re a Republican who believes in limited government, or a Democrat who prefers an activist approach, having an effective and stable government is essential. 

From climate change to the healthcare crisis, nothing will get solved unless we have a government that works for we, the people. This week, our friends at RepresentUs released a new video in their “Unbreaking America” series that dives into one such problem that impacts 1 in 8 Americans: student debt. 

As actor and comedian Ed Helms explains in the video, Americans are racking up billions in student loan debt while Congress lets special interest groups make the rules — in no small part because our political system all but encourages these groups to get involved. From student loans to incarceration and the justice system, political reform is the one issue that impacts them all. To build a better future for our country, we have to start with reform.

  1. We should be doing the opposite of this.

After a record-breaking election year with the highest voter turnout in more than 100 years, you’d think we’d have a lot to celebrate. In the face of direct and unashamed challenge, the US pulled off a democratic election that was by all (credible) reports safe and secure. 

It should be surprising, then, that across the country, there are more than 100 bills that have been introduced in state legislatures that would limit the abilities of Americans to access the ballot box. These are bills (like SB1069 in Arizona!) that would prevent more Americans from early voting, voting at home, or even finding a ballot drop-box location that’s close to them. 

Our political system works when more people participate. That’s when we get election results that best reflect us — all of us, regardless of party or ideology. Our Republic isn't functioning properly when it subverts some voices for the benefit of others. We have to focus on putting voters first; in fact, there have been 406 bills that have been introduced that would expand voter access. That's something to celebrate.

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