(Washington, D.C.) – In the wake of the first anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, for the first time during the 117th Congress, the Senate debated the substance of the combined Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The Senate failed to overcome the 60-vote threshold or to adopt a change to procedural rules to circumvent the filibuster.
“Our country cannot claim to be free while allowing states to legislate away that freedom at will. We cannot claim to be just but hide behind a filibuster that perpetuates injustice. And we most certainly cannot claim to be a democracy while turning a blind eye to the forces that undermine the very foundation of our democracy.
“The railroading of efforts to defend voting rights that people have died to obtain will be remembered when the veteran, who fought for this country is stopped from having a say in its direction. It will be remembered when the disabled parent can no longer cast a ballot because the accessible polling place has been closed, and the next one is miles and miles away. And it will be remembered when the Black mother, among the fastest-growing part of the electorate, is forced to endure yet another election where she will have to wait in line for hours during a pandemic without access to food or water to exercise the franchise that her ancestors could not.
“The Senate may have failed to pass voting rights tonight, but the fight is not over. The stakes are too important to give up now. We know that without those rights, our country’s foundations will give way to those forces that are against freedom, fairness, and equality. We cannot let that happen and will not allow those who were complicit in eroding democracy to crawl through a procedural escape hatch to evade accountability from the American people they have betrayed.”