Dominican Sisters of Springfield Make Urgent Call
For Protection of Voting Rights
The day after the U.S. Senate failed to pass voting rights legislation the Dominican Sisters of Springfield released the following statement calling for citizen engagement.
Since the foundation of our democracy, excluded peoples have struggled to gain a right that was promised in the Constitution—the right to vote. Significant for our time was the Voting Rights Act of 1965, renewed in 2006 by a unanimous vote of a bipartisan Senate. In 2013 the Supreme Court eliminated from that legislation a requirement holding states accountable to the Department of Justice for changes in their voting laws.
Free of this requirement, various states have passed legislation that, in practice, reduces citizen access to the polls. This week our federal legislature has failed in an attempt to protect voter access and the constitutional rights of every U.S. Citizen.
Free and active participation in the creation of a just society is a hallmark of Catholic Social Teaching. The right to vote is constitutive to that participation and the key to safeguarding our democracy. The dignity of each person demands the ability to exercise that right. Protecting that right by making the voting process easily accessible, simple, and secure is in the interest of every U.S. citizen.
Our partnership with men and women of color has taught us that those on the margins are the first to lose this access when our democracy fails.
As members of a religious order founded on the principles of democracy 800 years ago, we Dominican Sisters of Springfield have particular concern for what is transpiring in our nation. We believe once the rights of any citizen are endangered the rights of all citizens are endangered.
Therefore, we appeal to all citizens of this nation to engage in conversation with their state and federal legislators. It is essential that every citizen be vigilant about what is happening at the state level and proactive in demanding the protection of this sacred human right wherever it is endangered. By cultivating a sense of solidarity and a concern for the common good, it may yet be possible to preserve our democracy and allow it to be realized to its fullest extent.
January 20, 2022