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Georgia voting rights champion: ‘When everyone votes, democracy wins’

This article was originally published May 19th in Savannah Now and can be found here.

This letter was submitted by Nina Altschiller with the League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia.

On Monday I became the president of the League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia. In my acceptance speech I answered a question posed by a number of my Republican friends: How can a partisan person lead a nonpartisan organization?  

Voting rights isn’t a partisan issue, or shouldn’t be. The League’s mission is to have as many people vote as possible, regardless of party affiliation, because democracy wins when everyone votes. 

From its initial passage in1965 to the 2013 Supreme Court decision on Shelby County vs Holder, the Voting Rights Act and its reauthorization had passed by overwhelming bipartisan numbers. Reauthorization was signed first by Nixon, then Ford, then Reagan, then by GW Bush.  

After the Supreme Court decision, states began enacting restrictive voting legislation.  After the 2020 election, state after state has passed laws to further restrict access. 

Let’s be frank here. In arguing the most recent case defending the new Arizona voter law, the lawyer representing the GOP was said that voting restrictions help Republicans win. It was a remarkable admission.   

Just last week, when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) suggested a simple change to the original Voting Rights Act, which would have nullified the court’s objection in Shelby County v. Holder, his compromise was shot down immediately by Republicans.   

Nina Altschiller

So when my Republican friend suggested I have a Republican co-president, I readily agreed, provided he could find someone who really wants to register voters and get out the vote.   

I’ve given up supporting one candidate over another, vowing instead to work on having every single vote count. 

I reiterate: when everyone votes, democracy wins. 

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