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Grassroots Activists Plan Freedom to Vote Rally, Relay from W.V. to D.C. Ahead of Senate Vote

Nearly 100 Organizations Support Next Week’s Relay and Rally; Civil Rights and Movement Leaders to Risk Arrest to Pressure Biden

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the U.S. Senate prepares to move forward with key voting rights and election protection legislation next week, grassroots activists are organizing a three-day, 70-mile Freedom to Vote Relay from West Virginia to Washington, D.C., culminating with a rally on the National Mall with Martin Luther King III on Saturday, Oct. 23.

“In state after state, a cadre of politicians are pushing through one anti-voter bill after another, attacking our freedom to vote,” said Aquene Freechild, Democracy Is For People campaign co-director at Public Citizen. “At the same time, they’re drawing new district maps to benefit themselves, carving up our communities and silencing our voices. The same faction that lied about the 2020 election and fueled the deadly attack on the Capitol is blocking the Freedom to Vote, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and D.C. statehood bills. That’s why we need action NOW to prevent election sabotage, stop billionaires from trying to buy our elections, and  set national standards for voting and fair districts.”

“Throughout our history, we have fought to ensure every American has their right to vote honored and that every eligible American is able to cast their vote and have it be counted,” said Justin Kwasa, voting rights program director at the League of Conservation Voters. “This Freedom to Vote Relay is a poignant reminder of that history. From across this country, everyday people are joining together to call on the Senate to cross the finish line and pass this bill. That’s why we are marching, biking and running from West Virginia to Washington, D.C., to pass the baton from Joe Manchin to the Senate to make the promise of democracy real for us all and pass the Freedom to Vote Act.”

Nearly 100 organizations have endorsed the Freedom to Vote Relay and Rally, and groups from West Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, and South Carolina are expected to participate in the events. 

The Declaration for American Democracy Coalition is convening the Freedom to Vote Relay with Black Voters Matter, DC Vote, Drum Majors for Change, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters, CREW, and Public Citizen. The League of Women Voters – Maryland and For the People – Maryland are also partners. 

In addition to the Freedom to Vote Relay and Rally next week, civil rights leaders and movement leaders will risk arrest at an event outside the White House on Tuesday, Oct. 19, to call on President Joe Biden to use the bully pulpit and full powers of the presidency to pass the Freedom to Vote Act.

For more information on how to participate or show support, visit FreedomToVoteRelay.org.