Sunday’s Gazette-Mail op-ed by Senator Joe Manchin makes it clear that the West Virginia Democrat is refusing to protect and strengthen our democracy in the face of an unprecedented wave of anti-voter bills. West Virginia members of Common Defense, the country’s largest grassroots progressive veterans organization, along with Jose Vasquez, the organization’s executive director, released the below statements:
US Marine Corps Veteran Zach Shrewsbury, Fayetteville, West Virginia resident:
“As a veteran, I was willing to put my life on the line to defend our system of democracy. I’m disappointed that Joe Manchin is taking the easy way out and doing nothing, when he should be standing up against the corrupt politicians who are attacking our right to vote. I hope Sen. Manchin will reconsider, and do right by his country and the veterans of West Virginia.”
US Army Veteran June Spence, Morgantown, West Virginia resident:
“As a veteran, I believe that in order for us to have a more effective democracy we need to eliminate arbitrary obstructions used to disenfranchise otherwise eligible voters. Not everyone in West Virginia can drive or get a ride to the polls on election day, and servicemembers all over the world rely on mail-in ballots. If S1 doesn’t pass, many of us will lose the basic right of having our voices heard in fair and free elections. The filibuster needs to go and S1 needs to pass.”
US Army Veteran and Common Defense Executive Director Jose Vasquez:
“Senator Manchin has made it abundantly clear that his concerns with the For the People Act are on process, not on substance. Process cannot stand in the way of protecting the freedom to vote for all Americans. Process cannot force millions of military veterans and active duty servicemembers to have their votes taken away because they rely on mail-in ballots. In his op-ed, Senator Manchin paints himself as taking a courageous stand. But by voting against S1, Sen. Manchin would just be appeasing the corrupt and racist politicians who are hell-bent on destroying our democracy. Inaction isn’t an option when our most sacred rights are under attack.
Veterans living in West Virginia and around the country will not sit quietly while the democracy they fought to protect faces an attack from one of their own elected representatives. No op-ed will spell the end of the For the People Act, and no one senator will threaten the future of our democracy.”