Editorials, Opinion

Voting is a right

Georgia’s new voting laws — many of which could rightfully be called voter suppression laws — have dominated national headlines recently.

But West Virginia has its own questionable voting law sitting in committee. HB 2607 would require voters to produce a photo ID in order to cast a ballot in any election for candidates for a public office. Photo ID laws are a double-edged sword.

Many will argue that needing a valid photo ID to vote helps to prevent voter fraud. There may be a grain of truth to that, but fraudulently cast ballots have never occurred in large enough numbers to sway an election. But requiring a photo ID is more likely to keep people from casting valid ballots than it is to stop fake votes.

Fortunately, HB 2607 hasn’t moved out of House Judiciary, and with only three days left in the regular legislative session, we would happily see it die in committee.

Even as voter suppression laws dominate state legislatures across the U.S., the fight over HR 1, the “For the People Act,” continues in Congress. The bill’s purpose is “to expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants and implement other anti-corruption measures … .” Considering what states are up to, it seems like we need a federal law to guarantee voting rights. 

The right to vote and voting access shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Voting is our civic duty — the key feature of American democracy that has made us a model for governance around the world — and it should never be made more difficult. HR 1 already passed the House and now awaits action in the Senate. There’s no reason for Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito to vote no.