Dēmos President Taifa Smith Butler issued the following statement Wednesday after the Senate’s action to advance the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act:
“At a moment when the rights of Black and brown voters are in peril, it’s important that Democrats in the Senate took action to defend our democracy in response to our communities’ hard work to advance this historic legislation. Through same-day registration, expansion of early voting, protections against discriminatory state-level voting laws, and other essential provisions, the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act has the potential to move this country toward becoming a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy.
“After the 2020 election, clear backlash to historic Black and brown turnout manifested in the form of dozens of new anti-voter laws in states across the country. In every one of those states, voter suppression laws can pass with a simple majority. Yet the filibuster — an arcane 180-year-old rule that has been used to uphold slavery, lynching, and Jim Crow — requires 60 percent of the Senate to pass a federal voter protection bill. No lawmaker should be more committed to this tactic of obstruction than to their allegiance to the American people — who overwhelming support measures to protect voting rights.
“Safeguarding our democracy is the responsibility of every single elected leader, regardless of party. One party's abdication of that sacred responsibility only means the other has to fight all the harder to uphold it. History will not remember fondly those who choose upholding Senate rules over upholding voting rights. In this defining moment, lawmakers must act in accordance with the will and best interest of the American people.”