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As a West Virginian, I have heard many people from outside the state tell us what would be best for us, particularly when it comes to our unique politics.

Our state has been in the national spotlight recently. This has led to an influx of opinions on what we should be doing and how we should be doing it; especially since the Freedom to Vote Act is back on the U.S. Senate’s agenda.

I believe all my fellow West Virginians can agree that we know what is best for West Virginia.

Recently, One Nation, a dark-money group linked to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., released a 12-day, $1 million ad campaign here in West Virginia. The ad urges West Virginians to call Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and ask him to “protect the Senate filibuster.”

Currently, we are more concerned with protecting West Virginia voices. The best way to do that is through the passage of Manchin’s Freedom to Vote Act, which is what the One Nation ad is trying to prevent.

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Over $1 billion in dark money was spent at the national level in the 2020 election, and more than $125 million of that was from One Nation, according to Open Secrets. Dark money continuously influences and buys our elections. This leads to problems for our state and causes West Virginia voices to go unheard.

The Freedom to Vote Act would fix these issues and ensure a transparent process we can trust.

Manchin’s bill is full of commonsense ideas that the majority of West Virginians support. This bill will end gerrymandering, shine a light on dark money and implement a voluntary, small-donor public financing program for U.S. House candidates. These provisions would amplify the voices of West Virginians, not drown them out.

Groups like One Nation do not know what is best for West Virginia, and yet their most recent ad acts as if they do. This dark-money group sponsored by McConnell is doing everything it can to ensure the Freedom to Vote Act does not pass; even going as far as to try and influence West Virginia voters through misinformation ads. McConnell and One Nation do not want what is best for West Virginia. They want our elections to continue to be influenced by dark money for their own benefit.

West Virginians have a strong history of standing up for ourselves, and this situation will be no different. We know what is best for our state, and we do not want dark-money groups affiliated with McConnell to influence us. The passage of the Freedom to Vote Act is crucial to our country and our state. This is why I, and plenty of other West Virginians, support and encourage Manchin to do whatever it takes to get the bill passed as soon as possible.

Haley Jones lives in Morgantown.

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