Currently the United States is politically polarized on both the legislative and the individual level. Within Congress there is chaos as representatives are unable to compromise within an across parties (Rauch). Although party ideals remain intact, their polarization from other parties are strong and are poorly organized. The partisanship reveals itself as mistrust for opposing political parties (Azari). This unprecedented division extends to lawmakers and affects significant issues such as Voter Rights.
According to Domenico Montanaro, the senior political editor for the National Public Radio, most Americans trust the legitimacy of elections, but there is a political divide (Montanaro). Although Democrats and Independents trust the election process, Conservatives tend to be wearier. One third of Republicans trust elections compared to 90 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Independents; however, college educated Republicans are more likely to trust elections.
The partisan mistrust in elections is reflected in attitudes towards voter legislation. According to the Pew Research Center, 78% of Democrats and independents who mostly identify as Democrats believe that voting is a right that should never be hindered (NW et al.). In contrast, the majority of Republicans and Republican leaning Independents believe voting is a privilege in which provisions can be placed upon; only 32% believe it is a fundamental right (NW et al.).
In response to the false narrative that the 2020 Presidential Election was fraudulent, Republican lawmakers are backing legislation that would restrict voter accessibility (News). According to Sarah Repucci, who is the vice president and research analysis for the Freedom House, these false narratives threaten the legitimacy and foundation of American Democracy (Repucci). Voter restriction bills are passed with the intent to secure elections and prevent fraud; however, the Brennan Center for justice claims voter fraud is extremely rare.
Bills such as the Freedom to Vote Act counter voter stricture by attempting to widen access to voting through means such as automatic voter registration (Klobuchar). Legislatures should also enact laws that would guarantee the right for all citizens to vote including those with felony convictions (Repucci). Voter Rights bills are essential and necessary to preserve the interest of voters. Without pro-voter legislation such as the Freedom to Vote Act, it will become increasingly difficult for American to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
Azari, Julia. “Weak Parties and Strong Partisanship Are a Bad Combination.” Vox, 3 Nov. 2016, www.vox.com/mischiefs-of-faction/2016/11/3/13512362/weak-parties-strong-partisanship-bad-combination.
Klobuchar, Amy. “S.2747 – 117th Congress (2021-2022): Freedom to Vote Act.” Www.congress.gov, 20 Oct. 2021, www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/2747#:~:text=Introduced%20in%20Senate%20(09%2F14%2F2021)&text=This%20bill%20addresses%20voter%20registration
“Most Americans Trust Elections Are Fair, but Sharp Divides Exist, a New Poll Finds.” NPR.org, www.npr.org/2021/11/01/1050291610/most-americans-trust-elections-are-fair-but-sharp-divides-exist-a-new-poll-finds.
News, ABC. “Iowa Governor Signs GOP-Forced Voting Changes Bill into Law.” ABC News, abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/iowa-dems-ponder-strategies-amid-gop-forced-voting-76323608. Accessed 21 Apr. 2022.
NW, 1615 L. St, et al. “Wide Partisan Divide on Whether Voting Is a Fundamental Right or a Privilege with Responsibilities.” Pew Research Center, 22 July 2021, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/07/22/wide-partisan-divide-on-whether-voting-is-a-fundamental-right-or-a-privilege-with-responsibilities/.
Rauch, Jonathan. “How American Politics Became so Ineffective.” The Atlantic, The Atlantic, 21 June 2016, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/07/how-american-politics-went-insane/485570/.
Repucci, Sarah. “From Crisis to Reform: A Call to Strengthen America’s Battered Democracy.” Freedom House, 2021, freedomhouse.org/report/special-report/2021/crisis-reform-call-strengthen-americas-battered-democracy.
“The Myth of Voter Fraud.” Brennan Center for Justice, www.brennancenter.org/issues/ensure-every-american-can-vote/vote-suppression/myth-voter-fraud.
Interesting article about polarization in the United States. It was surprising that few Republicans trust the legitimacy of elections. The author mentioned that 60% of Independents trust in the election, and stated that in general Independents trust in the election. However, this means that 40% don’t trust it, so I wouldn’t say that Independents trust it in general.
It was also interesting to know about different views on the right to elect.
In my opinion, the last paragraph about different Acts should be bigger, where the author could spend more time reviewing the mentioned bills.