Boston must stand up for voting rights
In response to the incredible voter turnout we witnessed in last year’s general election, many states have wasted no time in pushing bills that would make voting more tedious and burdensome. Between Texas, Georgia and Arizona, the three states have introduced 97 pieces of anti-voting legislation. In Georgia, some of that legislation has already become law. Now, an onerous voter ID law has made it more difficult for individuals to vote by mail. Additionally, it is now a crime to pass out food and drinks to those waiting in line to vote.
Make no mistake: These reactionary measures are racially motivated. As many as 25% of Black citizens of voting age lack a photo ID, compared to only 8% of white voting-age citizens. Furthermore, nonwhite voters in Georgia had to wait in line as much as eight times longer than their white counterparts to actually vote in the 2020 general election.
Boston — and Massachusetts generally — must show that it unilaterally opposes these blatantly racist actions. District 5 City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo has embraced this effort, introducing two proposals to dramatically reform Boston’s municipal elections. These include same-day voter registration and expanded early voting options.
We ultimately seek to see these reforms passed at the state level through the VOTES Act (H.805 and S.459). But by introducing these measures in the City Council, Councilor Arroyo has helped make clear that Boston must prove its dedication to creating a truly accessible, inclusive democracy.
Cheryl Clyburn Crawford is executive director of MassVOTE, a nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to voting rights, voter education and social justice.