Adding obstacles to voting contradicts Catholic belief in human dignity. Yes, the system needs security, but new restrictions in states like Georgia seek to repair a phantom problem.

We in Oregon know that motor-voter registration, plentiful collection boxes and mail-in ballots have given our state one of the highest voter participation rates in the nation, 75% in the 2020 election. A nonpartisan state commission found that malfeasance is exceedingly rare here. In the past 20 years of voting, Oregonians cast almost 61 million ballots. During that time, the state obtained only 38 fraud convictions.

We Catholics may frequently mourn the outcome of Oregon voting, especially when it comes to protecting the unborn. But our voter participation is something to celebrate and emulate. We believe that the pro-life electorate will grow as the science and ethics emerge from a whirlwind of propaganda. We trust people someday will vote with good sense on that issue like they do with others. But for now, suppressing the vote to boost the pro-life cause would be obtaining a moral end through immoral means.

Groups of U.S. women religious have pointed out the importance of ensuring that all people have good access to voting, which the sisters consider a sacred right. The National Black Sisters Conference and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious rightly point out that the controversial new voting restrictions emerge from a past in which ostensibly race-neutral policies like literacy tests, poll taxes and grandfather clauses were actually designed to dampen voting by former slaves and their descendants.

In a wise statement that comes out in election years, the U.S. Catholic bishops write that engagement in political life is needed to further the Christian mission. In our country, that duty is fulfilled at the ballot box. It’s fundamentally wrong on several levels to deter the legitimate voice of another human being.