Let Our People Vote!

Let Our People Vote!

Bernie Sanders may have dropped out, but his supporters deserve the right to vote for the policies he championed.

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Bernie Sanders received donations from more than 5 million Americans over the course of this presidential election cycle. Hundreds of thousands of activist volunteers knocked on almost 7 million doors and made 49 million phone calls as part of the largest grassroots political movement in modern US history.

These people deserve the right to vote.

Senator Sanders may have suspended his campaign for president, but the movement for social and economic justice that his candidacy galvanized will continue to fight for the progressive policies that have defined the Vermont lawmaker’s life’s work.

Sanders remains on the ballot in more than 20 states (including New York, for now) and last month urged his supporters to vote for him in the upcoming contests “to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform.”

It is essential for Sanders to amass more than 25 percent of the delegates in order to pressure the Democratic Party to adopt Bernie’s progressive policies. That’s why every Sanders supporter must vote by mail for Bernie Sanders in their upcoming primary elections.

But there is a bigger philosophical issue here, one that has been highlighted by the New York State Board of Elections’ decision to remove the June 23 Democratic presidential primary contest from the ballot.

This action was blatantly unconstitutional, US federal judge Analisa Torres ruled last week, because it would have deprived millions of New York voters of their right to vote. Judge Torres, in her 30-page opinion, said that the Board of Elections’ action violated the plaintiffs’ “First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.”

Unlike Governor Andrew Cuomo and his hand-picked Board of Elections, Judge Torres understands how important the franchise is to New Yorkers. Nevertheless, New York state filed an appeal to Judge Torres’s ruling on Wednesday, further signaling the state’s inexplicable decision to cancel the New York state presidential primary.

The New York State Board of Elections’ explanation for removing the presidential primary from the ballot—to protect voters from contracting Covid-19 at polling places—makes no sense because every registered voter in the state of New York will receive an application to apply for an absentee ballot per executive order.

Voting rights are the bedrock of our democracy. When state officials cancel elections, especially in a blue state like New York, it sets a dangerous precedent that could be used by Trump’s GOP to cancel elections at will. Around the country, GOP officials have attempted to suppress the vote. The last thing we need now is for New York state to provide them with a blueprint to do so.

The stakes could not be higher.

Donald Trump is the most corrupt and dangerous president in modern US history. Trump poses an existential threat to the health and welfare of the people of this country, as his grossly negligent conduct during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has vividly illustrated.

During his disgraceful tenure in the White House, Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his contempt for the working people of this country, while giving succor to the most hateful and bigoted elements of society. Through his almost daily demonstrations of extreme narcissism and vindictiveness—not to mention his countless awful policy decisions—Trump has repeatedly proven that he is unfit for office.

What we need now is a new vision for America, to repair the damage done to our nation and transform this country into a more equal and compassionate democracy.

Although Bernie Sanders has suspended his campaign for president, the principles that have defined his life’s work are more important now than ever. That’s why we need Sanders supporters to vote for him in the upcoming primaries, so we can fight to win Medicare for All, cancel student debt, end endless wars, and pass the Green New Deal.

America is at an inflection point, and the people of this country have a crucial choice to make. The Covid-19 pandemic should not be used as an excuse to strip voters of their franchise. Every American deserves the right to vote by mail during this time. Republicans oppose vote-by-mail efforts because they understand that the more people vote, the fewer elections they’ll win.

The Democratic Party must uphold its essential values of promoting the universal franchise in America. At a time when Trump and the GOP are seeking to eviscerate voting rights throughout the country because they don’t believe in representative democracy, Sanders supporters deserve the right to vote.

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