JACKSONVILLE, Fla — One year ago Thursday, the nation held its breath as a mob broke into the United States Capitol and five people were killed.
The mob was attempting to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's legitimate election win. As one local political scientist reminds us, they were not successful, but where does this leave U.S. democracy one year later?
At least seven people from the First Coast are accused of participating in the deadly insurrection. Much of what happened a year ago is now impacting what happens with voting. Political scientists point to new voting laws in multiple states including Florida and say the impacts of Jan. 6, 2021, are far from over.
"Democracy in the U.S. is definitely backsliding," said Jacksonville University Political Science Professor Michael Pomante. "We are no longer the poster child of democratic inclusion that we used to be."
'Democracy in crisis' was the headline one year ago and can still be found as headlines today. New polls find Americans believe it to be true.
"Roughly the same amount of people think that there was fraud, think that the election was stolen," said University of North Florida Political Science Professor Michael Binder.
Binder and Pomante say the massive misinformation campaign that led to the insurrection and deaths has not dissolved. Fear over election fraud has led to the introduction of more than 260 bills in state legislatures that would interfere with election administration, according to States United Democracy Center.
"Any time that politicians interfere with elections or interfere with the outcomes, they are no longer allowing the public to speak for them, to represent them," said Pomante. "You are losing that aspect of democracy. Politicians are not supposed to secure their position within government."
What has the U.S. learned in the past year? According to the experts, it's that much more needs to be done and undone.
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"Unfortunately I don't see that changing anytime soon unless Congress and state legislatures take seriously the fact that we need to secure our election practices and make sure that they are truly democratic and allow everyone to have their voices heard," Pomante said.
Most of the people from the First Coast accused of participating in the insurrection supposedly boasted about their participation on social media.
Middleburg couple Rachael Pert and Dana Joe Winn were sentenced to two years of probation last month. Daniel Gray from Neptune Beach allegedly pushed a police officer down a flight of stairs at the Capitol.
John Anderson from St. Augustine was charged but died in a Jacksonville hospital in September.