Vote Rally photo

Members of Four Rivers Indivisible and the Mayfield-Graves County NAACP took part in a “Freedom to Vote: Time to Act” rally Wednesday outside the Paducah office of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. The rally was to support the Freedom to Vote Act in the Senate.

Some 20 constituents from West Kentucky, including members of the Mayfield and Graves County Chapter of the NAACP, assembled outside the Paducah field office of Sen. Mitch McConnell Wednesday for a “Freedom to Vote: Time to Act Rally” in order to express support for Senate Bill 1, The Freedom To Vote Act.

This event was one of more than 80 events held during the November recess across the United States by a cross-coalition called Declaration for American Democracy. They read and delivered statements to Sen. McConnell’s office and collected signatures on a petition to President Joe Biden on the need to reform the filibuster.

The bill is designed to ensure equal access to voting and to ensure fairness, security and integrity in the election process.

According to a release from the NAACP group and Four Rivers Indivisible, many of the provisions are in response to numerous bills passed since the 2020 election that have limited voting rights through access of location, time and information for the disabled, young people, the poor, the elderly, and those working multiple jobs.

“Sadly, from the beginning of our country’s voting rights were not a part of the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights. Only land-owning males could vote. That set up a system that disenfranchised women, the poor, and all people of color,” said Bruce Dobyns, president of Mayfield-Graves County NAACP. “That legacy is alive and well today. Those in power are doing all they can to keep those left out of the system, both politically and economically, from voting. State after state has done all can to make it more difficult to vote.”

Regarding allegations of voter fraud, he said it is “nearly nonexistent. Yet those who want to keep the vote light and, in their favor, trump up the false claims that fraud is widespread. It has gotten so bad that even Republicans, who certified elections as fair, are being attacked by their own party at traitors.”

Dobyns said national legislation is needed to improve the situation at the very least, if not an amendment to the constitution to assure voting rights. But he admitted that will be an uphill climb.

“We are not calling for a revolution, but simply demanding that those God-given rights spelled out in the Declaration of Independence become the norm for every person in America. That is what will make us ‘great again;’ not going back to the so-called ‘good ole days’ when only a few had the right to vote,” he said. “We demand that Senator McConnell and all who oppose voting rights step up and live up to what they know is right for every citizen.”