U.S. Democracy On Life Support, the For the People Act is the Remedy.
I am Danielle Brecker, co-lead organizer of Empire State Indivisible. The indivisible movement is predicated on holding our elected leaders to account because they work for us.
We are here today because we must save our democracy. The US Senate led by our Senator Schumer must pass the For the People Act.
Every part of the For the People Act is urgent. I will speak about two urgent parts — mandating fair non-partisan redistricting and preventing election subversion.
2020 census data will be delivered in two days. In many states, elected leaders will misuse that data to maintain, redraw, and justify district lines that are partisan, racist, and disenfranchise mostly Black and brown communities that have long been disenfranchised by partisan gerrymandering. These elected leaders do this not to serve the people but to protect themselves and their party from losing power. Redistricting should give more people a voice in their representation so they decide who serves them — elected officials should not use redistricting to choose whom they serve.
The For the People Act mandates that redistricting be fair, non-partisan, and enfranchising.
Right here in New York City, at Citifield in Queens, I witnessed Trump supporters try to disrupt the November 2020 general election paper ballot count canvass — they tried to get valid ballots disqualified and when they saw it was not going to happen they became increasingly aggressive. On January 6th of this year we all witnessed insurgents attempt to overthrow the election result and our democracy by a violence. Donald Trump and his supporters did everything they could to overturn what by all accounts was a well-run and fair election process. These attempts did not work, so now his party is looking to rewrite many states’ election rules so that voters in those states don’t decide the outcome, so that votes can be subverted, cast aside, if they are not for a certain candidate or political party.
The new version of the For the People Act is expected to have provisions to protect against some of these anti-democratic election subversion tactics.
These are only two parts of the For the People Act but like all the parts they are urgent so that our democracy is not misused, overturned, or killed but held up, renewed and made better for the people.
Over and over again, across New York and our country, we see what engaged and enfranchised constituencies can do — what we the people can do.
And right now the people of New York, all of you, must call on our Senator Schumer, who works for us, to use his power, power we entrust him with, to save our democracy by getting the For the People Act passed.