Senator Warnock highlights urgent need for Congress to pass voting rights law

On Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in the aftermath of the Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that Republicans were drafting new election laws that punish blacks and minorities for their growing voting power. These bills were also designed to promote “electoral integrity” after former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election. Schumer, along with Senator Raphael Warnock, gave Republicans a deadline of 17 January to allow debate on federal vote reform bills. Otherwise, Schumer said he would consider changing Senate rules to force a debate on the ground.

Schumer and Warnock stressed the urgency of passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, legislation that will strengthen and expand access to the ballot box for all eligible Americans.

“Republican legislatures are changing the rules and preventing the poor, people of color, people who live in cities, the elderly, the disabled, young people from voting. It is not for everyone, it is for particular groups, and we all know there has to be a political advantage. Republican state legislatures promote the big lie to justify denying legitimate voters the right to vote, ”Schumer said.

U.S. Senator Rev. Raphael G. Warnock speaks during a press conference at the Atlanta Beltline headquarters on Friday, May 21, 2021. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen / The Atlanta Voice)

Senators Warnock and Schumer (D-NY) were joined by US Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Alex Padilla (D-CA).

Notably, Schumer and Warnock did not explicitly say they would eliminate the filibuster. But, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), says he is in favor of removing the 60-vote threshold needed to start a debate on the proposed legislation.

“It’s a rule change, I think the Republicans – they’ve been up for it before,” Manchin said.

But Manchin is still in favor of filibuster, which would give Republicans the right to prevent senators from ending debate on the bill and preventing a final vote from being held.

Warnock supports the nuclear option, which would remove filibuster and require all 50 Democratic senators to vote for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. Vice President Kamala Harris would be the deciding vote in the Senate.

“I am the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached and I was very shocked when members of that body used old mundane state rights arguments, the same kind of rights arguments of the states that were used against Dr. King. second, to oppose reasonable access to the ballot at this time, ”Warnock said. “A lot of these same politicians will stand up in a few days and give words to Martin Luther King Jr. Well, you can’t remember Dr. King and dismember his legacy at the same time. The John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Free Voting Act are the legacy of Dr King and if you would live up to his name you have to be on the right side of history to move these forward. law projects.

Georgia Senate Bill 202 was one of those laws that many Republicans believed would make voting in elections easier and harder to cheat. He adopted party lines on March 25, 2021. Three months later, the United States Department of Justice filed a complaint alleging, “Several provisions of Senate Bill 202 were passed to deny or restrict the right to vote on the basis of race. “

Georgia Senate pro tempore and candidate for lieutenant governor, Butch Miller, introduced a bill on December 13, 2021 that would ban absentee drop boxes in the state.

“Drop boxes were introduced as an emergency measure during the pandemic, but many counties did not follow safety guidelines in place, such as the requirement for camera surveillance on every drop box,” he said. Miller said. “Moving forward, we can return to a normality of in-person voting before the pandemic.”

However, Senator Warnock does not buy what state and national Republicans sell.

“It’s very clear what the Republican Party is doing – they’re trying to make it harder for some people to vote and easier to cheat,” Warnock said. “We are trying to make the vote easier and harder to cheat. And I predict that over the next few days you’re going to hear the same Republicans give a lot of talk to two-party politics. I believe in bipartisanship, I would like to see us participate in a bipartisan way, which is why I had hoped that they would have allowed us to have a debate on the voting bills that are before us. That’s what they’ve blocked three times in the Senate: our ability to have a bipartisan debate on an issue the American people are debating right now.

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