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After reading Cindy Lavender-Bowe’s Gazette-Mail opinion piece, “Manchin needs to push voting rights bill,” I must agree with her statements.

As a young, independent West Virginia voter, I believe that Sen. Joe Manchin’s compromise bill, the Freedom to Vote Act, is essential, and full of commonsense ideas.

Everyone can see the corruption and antagonism within our political institutions. Gerrymandering, dark money and voter suppression laws all make it very hard to put faith into our democratic process. Both parties are guilty and have played a part in shaping the current state of our democracy. Something must be done to create the change desperately needed in this country. I believe the Freedom to Vote Act will do just that.

The Freedom to Vote Act includes popular campaign finance reform provisions and, as Lavender-Bowe stated, is “the strongest voting rights bill possible on the table.” This bill will end gerrymandering, require states to allow 15 days of early voting (including two weekends), and limits the ability of special interests and billionaires to buy our elections.

Manchin, D-W.Va., must do everything in his power to get this bill passed.

Elijah Ford


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