WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of Democratic senators today released revised democracy protection legislation, the Freedom to Vote Act. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:
“The toxic stew of voter suppression, extreme gerrymandering, super rich domination of elections, and utter fabrications about the election process and results has created a full-blown emergency for our democracy.
“We are witnessing unimaginable backtracking on voting rights for people of color, embodied by the criminalization of providing water to people forced to stand in long lines in hot weather to vote. Extreme partisan and racial gerrymandering is rigging election results. Just 100 people, all but two or three of whom are white, are responsible for 70% of SuperPAC contributions. And lying about election results and threatening democratic legitimacy is at risk of becoming normalized.
“We have to act now or risk seeing our flawed democracy replaced by authoritarianism. That’s how stark things are.
“The Freedom to Vote Act is the pathway forward. With U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) as one of its primary sponsors, the bill will have the strong support of all 50 senators who caucus with the Democrats.
“All the better if Manchin can quickly find 10 Republicans to join this bill and win its passage. But if Republicans continue to stonewall desperately needed measures to protect our democracy, then Democrats must move immediately to adopt a workaround to the filibuster.
“America can wait no longer. The stakes are too high. Whatever institutional interest there may be in preserving the filibuster must give way to the imperative of protecting, preserving, and advancing our democracy. The Senate must immediately pass this bill.”