Pullman residents march for voting rights

Guest speakers illuminate importance for John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Freedom to Vote Act



Pulllman residents hold signs calling for voting rights legislation during a rally Monday afternoon at Reaney Park.


Despite the cold weather, a crowd gathered Monday in front of the gazebo in Reaney Park for the Martin Luther King Jr. Voting Rights March.

The march emphasized the importance of passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, according to Northwest Public Broadcasting.

“There are four election bills that propose to continue improving voter participation and accessibility. Two of those bills have to do with ranked-choice voting,” said Carol Ndambuki, instructor in WSU’s High School Equivalency Program. 

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act returns the protections the Voting Rights Act of 1965 delivered until 2013, according to the Cardin for Maryland website. The bill ensures minorities and young and old people can vote without discrimination. It also creates a system where states with continual racial discrimination will be monitored. 

The Freedom to Vote Act aims to make voting easier for the general population. Election Day would become a public holiday, ballots could not be thrown away over small errors and those with disabilities would have the same access to ballots through such measures as making them electronic, according to the Brennan Center for Justice website.

“What would Martin Luther King say today? What act of bravery would he call for from our citizenry and our elected officials? I believe it would be to act to do the right thing for the sake of our country and human rights,” said Megan Guido, city councilwoman and outreach coordinator for the Community Congregational United Church of Christ.

You can contact your senators or join an organization supporting voting rights to get these two laws to pass through the Senate, Carol Ndambuki said.

“We must do everything possible in our own state by supporting laws that make voter registration automatic and that continue to make our secure all in mail system as easy and accessible as possible, while at the same time studying and implementing systems like ranked-choice voting that ensure that every voice counts,” said local business owner Rob Ndambuki.

Rob Ndambuki said he has voted in every election since becoming a citizen of the United States in 2017. He walked out of his citizenship ceremony and there was a table with voter registrations. He filled one out right then.

“Let it be known that we are watching. We are paying attention and we are mobilizing to ensure that every eligible vote counts without undue burden,” Rob Ndambuki said.

After the guest speakers delivered their messages, Robert Harris, the WSU cross country/track and field director of operations, read “Give Us the Ballot,” an address delivered at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom. Martin Luther King Jr originally shared the address on May 17, 1957 in Washington D.C. 

The crowd participated in the reading by calling out the in the writing such as “give us the ballot” and “that’s right.”

“As we respond, let us light a fire here in Reaney Park,” Harris said.

To end the event, the crowd marched to Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters with their signs and then returned to the park.