Retired Green Beret: Congress must stop the GOP’s ‘simply un-American’ voting restrictions
Arizona voters make their way to a polling place to cast their ballot during the midterm elections on Nov. 6, 2018. Photo by Ralph Freso | Getty Images
As we celebrate our nation and a return to post-pandemic normalcy, I am compelled to solemnly recognize that on the state and national level, the extreme majority of the Republican Party is attempting to destroy our democracy by making it harder for hundreds of thousands of Arizonans to vote.
It’s simply un-American and it’s against everything I fought for in service to our nation.
As a U.S. soldier decades ago, I stood up to defend our rights as Americans before I was even eligible to vote; we died and we killed defending that right and the democratic values we love. More recently as a security contractor in Iraq, my team was charged with the mission of transporting Iraqi citizens to the polls in the first free and fair election in that country in generations. We were attacked with improvised explosive devices, sped through ambushes and fought armed insurrectionists. It was a mortal lesson in defending and advancing the right to vote.
The repressive behavior we always think of as happening in “other countries” is happening right here in Arizona. The Arizona Legislature passed SB1485, and it was instantaneously signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey. Under this legislation, approximately 200,000 Arizonans could lose their right to vote by mail, potentially including thousands of Arizona veterans — some with service-related disabilities, who rely on voting by mail to participate in our democracy.
The Arizona Legislature and Ducey don’t care whether they are disenfranchising people who put their lives on the line to defend our country. They thank us for our service, but their behavior can not be anything more than an effort to take and keep power, at any cost.
This madness can be stopped by passing the For the People Act, the federal proposal that will reverse and prevent Arizona and other state governments across our nation from disenfranchising American voters. This moment is a moment for courage and our United States Senators must rise to the occasion. If they do not, the consequences could be felt for generations.
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