Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation expressed disappointment that the Senate failed to amend the filibuster rules allowing for final passage of federal voting rights reforms.
Since 2021, 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting under the guise of preserving election integrity – far more than in any other year in the last decade. This infringement on voting rights is a fundamental threat to our democracy.
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José Santos Woss, FCNL’s director for justice reform, issued the following statement:
“State legislatures across the nation are suppressing the votes of millions, notably of Black and brown people. The House passed a bill that would overrule the state laws and President Joe Biden stands ready to sign it into law. However, the Senate cannot agree that this issue is urgently needed to preserve our democracy. Instead, they have chosen not to reform Senate filibuster rules, thereby preventing any voting rights reform. 52 senators have chosen to uphold outdated rules used to maintain racial segregation and white supremacy. Yes, tonight’s vote was partisan and is best explained by Senator Raphael Warnock’s (GA) remarks last year: ‘Some people don’t want some people to vote.’
“Our democracy is in peril. A sizeable portion of the population and elected leaders refuse to accept the 2020 election results. Free and fair elections are fundamental to a healthy democracy. As Quakers, we affirm that our democracy can live up to its potential only if the government safeguards the integrity of the voting process without raising unnecessary barriers.
“Voting rights should be the Senate’s number one priority. The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act (H.R.5746), which failed to pass the Senate tonight, would have expanded voter access to elections, curbed the excessive influence of money in politics, and reinstated key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It would have started to beat back the numerous voter suppression laws that have been passed by state legislatures after the 2020 election.
“The United States is a nation born in original sin: slavery. White men owned Black people as property, tortured them, and benefited from their forced labor. Black people were not considered human. With each generation we secured more rights, including the right to vote in the 1960s. Today, many are forgetting our history and are allowing the disenfranchisement of Black, brown, Indigenous, and young people. We need a national, federal response to defend these rights. If this includes changing antiquated Senate rules, like the filibuster, so be it.”
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.