The Fight for Voting Rights Does Not End Tonight

Statement of Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President

The fight for voting rights does not end tonight. It is up to the Senate to fix this, and nobody is giving up. The 48 Senators who voted tonight to protect the right of every American to vote are not giving up. The advocates, the voters, and Common Cause and our allies are not giving up. Our nation is stronger when every one of us has a voice in choosing our elected officials. The fight for voting rights will continue – in the Senate and in statehouses across the country.

Tonight, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) took a stand against voting rights along with every single Republican Senator – including 16 who voted to amend and extend the Voting Rights Act in 2006 and even three who marched for voting rights with the late John Lewis across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. If Senate rules allow Americans to be deprived of their right to vote, then those rules must be changed as they have been changed dozens of times in the past and the right to vote must take precedence.

The Senate must fix this, and we will be right there fighting for Americans across the country who face new and bigger obstacles to voting in the wake of a new generation of Jim Crow laws passed by GOP legislators to target certain communities – particularly Black, Brown, and Indigenous Communities. We will be fighting for the Georgians who waited eleven hours to cast their ballots in 2020. We will be fighting for the Texans whose mail in ballot applications are being rejected today in record numbers or who can’t register to vote because the state doesn’t have enough applications since Republican state legislators ended online registration. We will be fighting to tear down the obstacles Republicans legislatures are erecting to keep citizens form the ballot box.

The American people—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—overwhelmingly support voting rights and want to see the Senate finish the job. And a majority of Americans support fixing the filibuster to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. Ultimately Senators Sinema and Manchin and the Republican Caucus must answer their constituents and to history why they chose to protect a Senate rule instead of democracy and the freedom to vote.

There is no sign that the wave of voter suppression happening in the states is over so neither is our push for national voting rights legislation. It took the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to curb the Jim Crow laws of that era and it may again take national voting rights legislation to end the new Jim Crow. But the fight to turn back these laws will continue in the states as well.

The late Congressman John Lewis and other Civil Rights heroes taught us, the fight for voting rights always continues—no matter what momentary setback we face. The fight goes on.