It has been one year since the violent mob attack on our Capitol that shook the foundations of our democracy. Five people died and more than 150 police officers were injured by angry rioters that day, determined to stop the lawful certification of our elected president.
In the weeks leading up to this moment, then-President Trump and his team endlessly repeated the Big Lie about voter fraud and a “stolen election,” filing over 60 lawsuits and intimidating state election officials into throwing out ballots cast by voters of color. When those methods failed because there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, President Trump resorted to mob action. Addressing the crowd on January 6, President Trump told hundreds of white supremacists and armed extremists: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
The truth is that conditions are ripe for another insurrection, if we as Americans don’t change course. Two-thirds of Republicans incorrectly believe that “voter fraud helped Joe Biden win the 2020 election.” What failed to happen in D.C. could still happen closer to home.
In Illinois and Indiana, state and local officials who claim to be past racism still practice racial gerrymandering and restrict voter access. The president of Chicago’s police union embraced the Big Lie, as did other local officials who’ve raised false accusations of voter fraud to challenge election results. Despite these hostile conditions for voters of color, our communities are still fighting to have our voices heard at the polls.
Chicago Lawyers’ Committee has been working steadily every day to defend our democracy in Illinois and Indiana. We advocate for stronger laws and policies, offer know-your-rights training, file lawsuits in court, and conduct comprehensive non-partisan Election Protection to ensure that each citizen can cast a ballot and make her voice heard. With national and statewide elections around the corner this year, we are gearing up to mobilize hundreds of nonpartisan volunteers to answer the 866-OUR-VOTE hotline and assist voters who need help. If you are a legal professional, sign up for our Election Protection newsletter to learn about the next opportunity to volunteer.
We have two options: We can either throw up our hands, or we can get to work. Whether you’re calling for strong national legislation to protect voting rights or working locally to help new voters register, you have power to help fix our troubled democracy.
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