WASHINGTON – Today, more than 200 voting rights activists and volunteers rallied and protested at the White House, demanding the Biden administration take swift action to ensure the passage of voting rights legislation. The League of Women Voters and People For the American Way led the rally — billed ‘No More Excuses: Voting Rights Now!’ — calling on the administration to bring law makers together and work to remove all obstacles standing in the way of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
“Now is not the time to sit back and hope our Congress does the right thing,” said League of Women Voters of the United States Board President Dr. Deborah Ann Turner. “President Biden must use the full power of his office. He must compel Congress to pass voting rights legislation and ensure the freedom to vote for all Americans.”
“When President Biden went to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia last month, he told us that our democracy is facing one of the greatest tests in our history, and he was right. But with our democracy at risk, we need actions that match the urgency of those words. We need President Biden to call on the Senate to remove the filibuster as a barrier to voting rights legislation. No more excuses. Voting rights now,” said Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way.
“It is time President Biden lives up to his promise to make voting rights a priority of this administration," said Virginia Kase Solomón, CEO of the League of Women Voters of the United States. "Mr. President, you have the power to bring lawmakers together from both sides of the aisle and ensure these voting rights bills become law. Now is the time. The American people are counting on you.”
“President Biden needs to pick a side: voting rights or the Jim Crow filibuster. And he must be willing to use all the power and leverage at his disposal to influence the Senate. He should tell them that he won’t sign the infrastructure bill until they pass voting rights,” said Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of Black Voters Matter.
“As lawyers, we know that we cannot simply litigate our way out of discriminatory voting policies and barriers to exercising civil rights. We need federal legislation not only to stop bad outcomes but also to make the promise of democracy a reality. If that promise is not real for all of us, then it is not real for anyone,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
“In 1965, Lyndon Johnson negotiated, twisted arms, and did whatever it took to ensure passage of the Voting Rights Act,” said Charly Carter, executive director of the Democracy Initiative, representing 75 labor, civil rights, and environmental groups with a combined membership of 45 million people. “Like President Biden, President Johnson confronted implacable opposition and seemingly impossible procedural obstacles. Unlike President Biden — so far — he did not allow these hurdles to stand in the way of taking action to protect the right to vote. This is President Biden’s Lyndon Johnson moment; history will not be kind if he fails to show leadership.”
“Our democracy is facing the greatest threat of our lifetimes. President Biden must let nothing stand in the way of protecting our freedom to vote and ensuring fair elections. His legacy is on the line and he must deliver the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to the American people," said Jana Morgan, director of Declaration for American Democracy Coalition. “We need national standards to ensure that we can safely and freely cast our ballots, have our voices heard, and elect leaders who deliver on our priorities. President Biden, failure is not an option."
“Our elected officials cannot represent us if we don’t all have access to the ballot box. But just like Southern states once used poll taxes and literacy tests, some states are now passing laws that make it harder for Black, brown, and low-income people to vote. And federal legislation that would protect our communities’ freedom to vote is being blocked by Senate Republicans, using the parliamentary maneuver known as the ‘filibuster’,” said Common Cause Director of Voting and Elections Sylvia Albert. “Today, we are calling on President Biden to ensure that we go forward, not backwards, in our work for a more perfect union. That we take the path toward restoration, and not the path back toward Jim Crow.”
CONTACT: Sarah Courtney | 202-263-1332 | [email protected]