Up or Down? We Need More Americans Voting Not Fewer.

Across the country, hyper-partisan strategists are writing restrictive voting laws to restore confidence in a secure electoral system that they themselves fabricated a narrative to undermine. Up is down, down is up, fairness is slipping off the board, and exhausted voters are expected to let it slide.

Relativity, M. C. Escher

In 2017, I joined other Texas business leaders — representing the entire political spectrum — to demand that the Legislature prioritize our economy, our communities, and our fellow Texans over an escalated and hyperbolic culture war over bathrooms.

We won.

Last week, hyper-partisan politicians in Georgia, still smarting from a 2020 loss which installed a new majority in the U.S. Senate and confirmed voter trends around the country, passed a voting law which puts in place electoral restrictions, prohibitions, and punishments not seen since before the Johnson administration.

Now the culture warriors in the Texas Legislature are back at work, proposing similar legislation.

Across America, the 2020 election proved to be one of the most significant, energetic, and secure on recent record.

However, across America, states are racing their legislative clocks to revise voting laws in advance of the 2022 midterms.

It’s not hard to reconcile those facts. At the national level, increased voter participation and blowback to super-obvious partisan motives combined (again: in a secure election) to deliver a stunning loss of majority in the American executive and legislative branches. In an effort to ensure that spark doesn’t ignite a down-ballot firestorm, state parties are seeking advantage any way they can. Most of those ways aren’t pretty and many aren’t fair.

Here in Texas, under the pretense of securing our (again: already secure) election infrastructure, culture warriors in the Legislature have proposed bills which would harm democracy by limiting access to the ballot and by intimidating voters, election officials, and volunteers.

I am disappointed to see the Texas legislature working to inhibit electoral competition and the marketplace of ideas through what appear to be hyper-partisan tactics. Not just because it’s the wrong thing to do — but also because it’s a methodology that’s proven to undermine our potential.

Texans don’t have to look far to see the damage caused by a stacked political system. Nearly 30 years of unimpeded monopoly control have left us highly susceptible — and highly desensitized — to “us versus them” governance.

  • In 2017, it took an unheard of effort by Texas business leaders to overturn attempts in the legislature to jeopardize our economy by discriminating against our fellow Texans.
  • A little over a year ago, Texas officials chose a culture war over battling a pandemic. We therefore lagged behind in mask wearing, we lagged behind in testing, and we’re still lagging behind in vaccinations.
  • A few weeks ago, failures in energy management, crisis response, and leadership left Texans in the dark and freezing cold.

Limiting access to who can vote has now joined the litany of issues being leveraged by partisan strategists to sustain a majority over “them.”

We need more ideas and more people voting to solve the challenges ahead of us.

Take care,

Joseph Kopser

Using new data to educate and engage community coalitions on the issues left behind by today’s divisive politics.