This week, Democrats in Congress moved forward in their efforts to protect the freedom to vote. Senator Patrick Leahy introduced the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would curb the rise of anti-voter laws that aim to racially discriminate against voters. The Senate Judiciary Committee subsequently held a hearing on the bill, where key witnesses testified on the current state of voting rights in the country today. In the House, the Committee on Oversight and Reform tackled the rise of election subversion efforts, holding a hearing to assess the fraudulent election review in Arizona and other sham reviews across the country. Meanwhile, state Republicans and their big-money allies continued their assault on the freedom to vote through partisan gerrymandering and anti-voter initiatives.
In Arkansas, state lawmakers in both the House and Senate approved a redistricting map that would crack Democratic communities into two separate Republican districts. The map dilutes the influence of Black and Brown voters denying them fair and equal representation.
In Georgia, a new report outlined how lobbyists spent over $100,000 on behalf of state politicians this summer, including spending thousands of dollars on meals for members of the state’s redistricting committees as well as financial support for these members’ PACs. The current proposed Georgia redistricting map by Republican members consolidates Black voters in the Atlanta area, diluting the power of their votes and denying them fair and equal representation.
In Iowa, Senate Republicans voted against congressional maps drawn by the non-partisan Legislative Service Agency. The maps would have better reflected the partisan makeup of the people of Iowa.
In Texas, state redistricting maps proposed last week were amended and advanced through committee. The proposed map would increase the GOP majority in the state House by restricting the influence of minority voters and ensuring no additional seats would be represented by people of color, despite the fact that 95% of the population growth in Texas last decade was from people of color.
In Florida, Republicans in Lake County approved five resolutions demanding a sham audit of the 2020 election, legislation that would allow partisan poll watchers to intimidate voters, and stricter restrictions for ballot dropboxes.
These deliberate attacks on Americans’ access to the ballot box would be stopped with the passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (S.4) and the Freedom to Vote Act (S. 2747). These bills together would protect the freedom to vote, counter anti-voter bills, protect against efforts to sabotage our elections, end dark money so that billionaires can no longer buy our elections, and stop partisan gerrymandering to ensure fair and equitable representation.
With Majority Leader Chuck Schumer committed to holding a vote on these bills, it is critical that the rest of the Senate does whatever it takes to ensure their passage. Senate procedure can no longer be a barrier to ensuring every American can make their voice and vote heard in our democracy.