What a difference a year makes.
One year ago, I sent out the first edition of On the Docket. In it, I wrote that “my goal is to provide thoughtful updates on important voting rights cases and initiatives as well as to highlight topics and trends that are developing but might otherwise be overlooked in a busy election year.” Little did I know just how busy 2020 would be for voting rights and voting.
We’ve come a long way since then. In one year, On the Docket has grown from 2,000 subscribers to more than 50,000. And it turned out that a monthly newsletter was not all that 2020 had in store!
In March we launched our flagship website, Democracy Docket, to serve as a platform for expert opinion and commentary on voting, as well as provide detailed information about important litigation that will shape our elections and democratic institutions for years to come. Throughout the year it offered sharp, honest opinions that helped frame the fight over voting rights as well as content that helped explain the voting process. Most famously, it tracked court cases in the pre and post-election period that shaped our elections and posted key court filings so that anyone could see the argument and results for themselves.
Most importantly, Democracy Docket has highlighted the work of those protecting voting rights and our democracy. In the last two years, I have had the honor to work with amazing organizations and individuals in over 150 voting rights cases in over 20 states. When people ask how we did, I say we won more than we lost and more than I thought we would. But I also say that the fight is not over.
In recent weeks, attention has turned from improving voting rules, to larger questions of protecting democracy. In December I wrote two pieces: A Threat to Democracy and Profiles in Cowardice that focused on the long term damage to our democratic institutions the Republican’s handling of the post-election period has caused. Trumpism has taught us that, for our democracy to survive, we cannot allow ourselves to be exposed to public evils from private vices. This means hardening our institutions of democracy and making them more explicit. This will need to take many forms, but we must start with those that force our nation’s leaders to do better. I expect to continue to speak out and advocate on prospective measures to re-strengthen our democratic institutions in the new year.
One of the immediate tests we will face will be Republican state legislatures using the lies of Trump to justify restrictive voting laws. I know people are tired of politics and elections, but it is critical that we stay vigilant and yield no ground to voter suppression.
The other big test facing our democracy is reapportionment and redistricting. Every ten years we reapportion and redistrict based on the Census. Like other aspects of democracy, Trump and his allies have systematically undermined an accurate Census count. Between that and the Supreme Court’s rulings gutting Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and greenlighting partisan redistricting, we will all have our hands full.
But before we can turn fully to those items, we must first finish out the 2020 election cycle with victories in two crucial Georgia Senate elections and the swearing in of a new Congress and President. Earlier this month, Stacey Abrams shared the blueprint for How Georgia Went Blue in November and will again in the January run offs.
The entire Democracy Docket team and I are extremely grateful for all of your support. Whether you’ve received every newsletter for the past year or recently subscribed, if you signed up to support voter protection or retweeted our latest case updates, your advocacy for voting rights helped change the outcome of the election and helped shine a light on disenfranchisement.
I expect next year to be full of important voting rights litigation, fights against Republican schemes to disenfranchise voters and a struggle over the very basics of American democracy. Until then, I hope you and your family have a safe and relaxing holiday. I am excited to show you what Democracy Docket and I have planned for 2021 and beyond.