The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is spearheading a group of nearly 90 local, state and federal organizations that is pressing Congress to pass two bills they argue are equally essential in ensuring “all Americans — and particularly Americans of color — have meaningful and equal access to the ballot.”
Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act “can ensure that every American can rely on having a baseline level of voting access, free from efforts to block their dilute or nullify their votes,” the coalition wrote in a letter to Congress this week.
“We fully support the ideal of bipartisan cooperation on voting rights and share the desire to see this issue elevated above the bitter partisanship that has come to define so much of our modern politics,” the letter said. “At the same time, we cannot allow the partisan political agenda of some in the Senate to block the passage of a bill that has broad bipartisan support in the country.
“Our country is at an inflection point. Many of us believe that the right of every American citizen to enjoy equal and unfettered access to the ballot is sacred,” they wrote. “Others are fighting to restrict the right to vote because they are willing to sacrifice democracy in favor of their partisan interests. We understand and support the role of the Senate as a place of deliberation and debate. But at some point, debate has to end, and votes need to be taken. Particularly on an issue that is so fundamental to our democracy
“Any rule or procedure that functions to stop bills from ever being considered on the floor is not a procedure to promote debate, it is a procedure to promote gridlock,” the letter continued. “And with state legislatures across the country passing more and more draconian bills to undermine the right to vote, our democracy cannot afford gridlock. Put simply, if the choice is between protecting the voting rights of every eligible American citizen or upholding the right of a minority of senators to block a floor vote on a popular pro-democracy bill, we strongly urge you to stand in support of the American people and the fundamental right to vote.”