‘We are out of options’: State lawmakers plead with Congress to act on voting rights

by | Jun 22, 2021 | Policy, Voting

Sixty-two Democrats from Texas are among more than 480 state legislators who have signed a letter to Congress urging leaders from both parties to pass voting rights and campaign finance reform legislation. 

The state lawmakers warned that 400 anti-voter bills have been introduced to legislatures across the nation, including in Texas. 

“Make no mistake: these unpatriotic attacks on our elections will undermine confidence that elections in America can possibly represent the will of a checked and balanced majority,” lawmakers wrote. “They present a deep threat to our democracy and will lead to material harm to communities that have long been under-represented.”

The lawmakers are pushing for the passage of two major bills that have been passed in the U.S. House but are stalled in the Senate by a defiant Republican minority as well as several moderate Democrats, some more outspoken than others, who do not want to end the Senate’s 60-vote threshold for filibuster-proof votes. 

One of the high-priority bills, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, would restore provisions to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were struck down in 2013, forcing states with a history of racist voter suppression to be subject to federal oversight called “preclearance.”

The other, For the People Act, would overhaul campaign finance laws, go after dark money, and attempt to reduce congressional gerrymandering via independent redistricting commissions. 

“We are out of options. We need your help,” the state lawmakers wrote. “We are asking that Congress pass common-sense national standards to strengthen our democracy with the For the People Act while protecting against future attacks on the right to vote with an updated Voting Rights Act, fittingly named after civil rights hero John Lewis.”

“The world is watching,” they concluded. “American democracy is in the balance. When future generations judge whether we rose to this pivotal moment in history, we hope you will be counted alongside us in the fight to preserve this experiment in self-governance.”

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

fernando@texassignal.com | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at fernando@texassignal.com

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