I believe American democracy is worth fighting for. It’s why I joined the Army, to protect our freedoms here at home. I also take it personally when politicians and special interests look to undermine our democratic institutions.
I never take our democracy for granted, and I am thankful that Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., doesn’t either. The passage of his Freedom to Vote Act will ensure that the sacrifice of every veteran will be honored.
Manchin’s leadership on the Freedom to Vote Act, a compromise package of election and anti-corruption reforms, represents his strong commitment to preserving the best of American democracy. West Virginia already leads the country in election security and efficiency, and the Freedom to Vote Act would bring those same values to Capitol Hill. Our early voting, voter ID, and voter registration laws have strengthened our elections here at home for years. But I didn’t just serve so the people of the Mountain State could cast a ballot. I was in the Army to defend American freedom, and the freedom of all Americans to vote in fair elections.
The Freedom to Vote Act would implement 15 consecutive days of early voting in federal elections, making it easier for seniors, hospital workers and others to find the time to cast a ballot. West Virginia’s 10 early days of voting are hugely popular across the state and have resulted in record voter turnout. The bill expands on that, while providing funding for our local election officials to implement additional improvements they see fit.
While it is critical that we ensure all Americans have the right to vote, these votes can be easily drowned out by bad actors, like foreign agents and dark-money donors. And the Freedom to Vote Act accounts for these challenges to our freedom, as well, by requiring super PACs and other organizations to disclose donors so that billionaires can no longer buy our elections.
The fight for a comprehensive voting rights bill has been at the forefront of Washington discourse over the past year and a half. Federal standards protecting our right to vote are long overdue. But Manchin has long understood the importance of introducing a bill that members of both political parties can get behind. And as a former service member, I understand just how sacred our right to vote is, for people of all ideologies. Americans in both parties support the values that West Virginia has long upheld, and that are now represented in the text of this bill in Washington.
Manchin is committed to bringing both parties to the table to get this bill across the finish line. I’m proud to call him our senator, because we need his leadership to bring the country together and to pass the Freedom to Vote Act.