Fix or Nix the Filibuster to Protect Our Right to Vote

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

For Immediate Release:
Contact:
Roger Kerson, rkerson@democracyinitiative.org, 734.645.0535

Democracy Initiative on GOP Blocking the Freedom to Vote Act
Fix or Nix the Filibuster
to Protect Our Right to Vote

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the latest Republican blockade of crucial voting rights legislation, leaders of the Democracy Initiative said today the U.S. Senate must fix or nix the filibuster. 

“The U.S. Congress must protect our right to vote, and a majority in both houses are ready to do exactly that,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause and co-chair of the Democracy Initiative Board of Directors. “It’s just plain wrong to allow the Jim Crow filibuster stand in the way of the Freedom to Vote Act. This legislation is a major step forward that gives all of us, regardless of political party, background, or where we live, an equal say in the future for our families and communities.”

“Working people are outraged to see our Congress paralyzed and unable to take action on voting rights and workplace rights,” said Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO and also a co-chair of the Democracy Initiative Board of Directors. “In state after state, extremists are targeting voter suppression at Black, brown and young votersand we can’t even have a debate on the floor of the U.S. Senate?”

A minority of GOP senators used outdated and arcane filibuster rules today to block debate and floor action on the Freedom to Vote Act. The compromise bill, introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) will allow voters, not politicians, to decide whether to vote early, vote by mail or vote in person on election day. The legislation also requires national same-day voter registration, bans partisan gerrymandering, and increases transparency in campaign financing.

Today’s obstruction in the U.S. Senate is the third time this year GOP legislators have blocked debate and floor action on voting rights.

“The third time is not a charmit’s a disgrace,” said Charly Carter, executive director of the Democracy Initiative. “The Jim Crow filibuster was used for decades to block civil rights laws. Now it’s being used to undermine the most fundamental right we have in a democracythe right to choose our own elected representatives. The U.S. Senate must protect our right to vote, not the privileges of entrenched politicians. Let’s fix or nix the filibuster and be the democracy we proclaim.” 

 

The Democracy Initiative is a coalition of 75 organizations with a collective 45 million members fighting for workers, civil rights, social justice and the environment. It was founded in 2012 to fix undemocratic Senate rules, expand access to the ballot, and combat the influence of big money in politics. DI partner organizations are united in their commitment to realizing the promise of American democracy where all people have an equal seat at the governance table. 

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