More than 150 pro-democracy groups are calling on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to change the filibuster rules and pass voting rights.
The groups wrote to the Senate Majority Leader:
In the year since insurrectionists violently attacked the U.S. Capitol, we have witnessed ongoing and increasingly dangerous efforts to chip away at the foundation of our democracy, from anti-voter bills already signed into law in 19 states to partisan takeovers of local election administration.
Still, the Senate has not been able to pass even a single piece of legislation to strengthen our democracy and protect fair and free elections because Republicans are abusing the chamber’s filibuster rule to stop them.
The undersigned organizations write to urge Senate Democrats to pass the slate of democracy and voting rights legislation before Congress, by whatever legislative means are required. These bills include the Freedom to Vote Act, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, and D.C. statehood, among others.
The Freedom to Vote Act would reverse many of the anti-voter laws passed this year—protecting the freedom to vote for all Americans, stopping partisan gerrymandering, limiting the influence of dark money so that billionaires can’t buy elections, and preventing partisan politicians from sabotaging future elections;
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore and strengthen our freedom to vote by ensuring that any changes to voting rules that discriminate against voters based on race or background are federally reviewed, so we all have an equal say and our rights are protected;
The Protecting Our Democracy Act would restore checks and balances and prevent future presidents from abusing their power for personal gain or obstructing the transition of power; and,
The Washington, D.C. Admission Act would grant the more than 700,000 residents of our nation’s capital a meaningful voice and a vote in Congress, both of which D.C. residents were denied on Jan. 6, 2021. Statehood would also allow D.C. to control its National Guard, which can be called upon immediately to protect our Capitol and other critical sites.
We are encouraged by your recent statements that Senate Democrats are seriously considering restoring the Senate to pave the way for voting rights protections. We believe that changing the rules to bypass Republicans’ continued obstruction is the only way to pass meaningful democracy legislation, and we urge you not to wait any longer.
On Thursday, thousands of Americans from all walks of life will take part in more than 250 vigils to mark the one year since the attack on the Capitol. Speakers will discuss what they felt as they watched insurrectionists attack the Capitol Building in an attempt to overturn a free and fair election. Last January, our nation came too close to not having a peaceful transition of power. One year is enough. We cannot wait until the next violent attack to safeguard our nation. By then, it might be too late.
The House of Representatives has already done its job. It is time for the Senate to do right by the American people, and improve the rules of the Senate so they can protect and strengthen our democracy. We implore our leaders in Congress to rise to the moment and honor their duty by urgently passing this slate of crucial democracy and voting rights legislation.
Democrats Must Act Now To Save Voting Rights
January 6, 2021, was an attack on the United States government, and an attack on democracy. 1/6 was also an attack on elections. The attack on the nation’s elections began months before the Capitol attack when Donald Trump began sowing the seeds of his big lie, and the attack has only accelerated over the past year.
1/6 and voting rights are issues that go hand in hand. One can’t condemn the events of 1/6 but also oppose voting rights legislation.
The time for the Senate to act is right now. The pro-democracy groups are correct. The House acted. President Biden is ready and waiting to sign the bill. It is now time for the Senate to step up and do its job.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association