Common Cause is urging every member of the U.S. Senate to vote to begin debate on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act when the Senate considers the legislation later this week. The letter, sent today to every Senator, emphasizes that already this year, 19 states have enacted 33 restrictive voting laws that make it harder for Americans – particularly Black and Brown voters – to have a say in choosing their elected leaders. The letter also notes that Common Cause plans to key-vote this legislation in our Democracy Scorecard, which we send to our 1.5 million members.
“As Americans we value our freedom, particularly our freedom to vote in our elections so that every one of us has an equal say in the future for our family and community, regardless of our age, race, background, or zip code,” said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. “The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts has gutted the Voting Rights Act, and many states have taken full advantage of that to erect barriers to make it harder for many of their residents to vote – particularly in Black and Brown communities. John Lewis nearly lost his life in a savage beating on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 in the struggle for voting rights, and he knew in helping craft this legislation that the freedom to vote is once again under attack in our nation. We must not let a new generation of Jim Crow laws stand. We must pass this legislation to protect the freedom to vote of every American.”
The letter to the Senate also stresses the need to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, which all Senate Republicans voted against on October 20th, to restore power back to voters and ensure that the voices of all eligible voters can be heard in our democracy. It points out that ten Senate Republicans who will vote on whether or not to even begin debate on the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act voted for the Voting Rights Act reauthorization when it passed the Senate 98-0 in 2006. The letter emphasizes that if there are not 10 Senate Republicans today who will vote to protect our freedom to vote, then Senate Democrats must eliminate the filibuster to pass these critically important bills.
To read the full letter, click here.