As backlash continues to grow across the United States to new voting restrictions that Republicans have introduced — and, in at least a couple of cases, passed — in states around the country, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) appeared on CNN’s State of the Union over the weekend, where he laid out the importance of fighting for voting rights.
Some of the recent GOP elections reform measures are truly appalling — in Georgia, for instance, Republican Governor Brian Kemp recently signed legislation that restricts the usage of absentee ballot drop boxes to business hours, which could almost completely shut out working people hoping to use the boxes. In Congress, Democrats have put forward the For the People Act, which contains an array of measures to protect voting rights against these Republican schemes, and while on CNN, Warnock outlined a vision in which capitulating to GOP obstruction is not a remotely agreeable option.
As the Senator put it:
‘I think that we have to pass voting rights no matter what, and the reason why I have insisted that we talk to our Republican sisters and brothers on the other side of the aisle is because if we don’t do anything else in the Senate, we have to stand up for the democracy. The filibuster at the end of the day is about minority rights in the Senate. How are you going to insist on protecting minority rights in the Senate while refusing to protect minority rights in the society?’
At present, the filibuster rule in the Senate demands 60 votes in the 100-member chamber before moving towards a final vote on most legislation. Thus, the minority can band together and stop progress. Check out Warnock’s comments on the issue below:
Sen. Raphael Warnock on eliminating the filibuster: "We have to pass voting rights no matter what. … How are you going to insist on protecting minority rights in the Senate while refusing to protect minority rights in the society?" #CNNSOTU https://t.co/XTFxTVmnvg pic.twitter.com/aNLGIHFN1C
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 28, 2021
Warnock also discussed the damaging implications of recent GOP undercuts to voting rights. Republicans have cast their efforts as necessary to protect election integrity, but there was no systematic problem with the 2020 election cycle, so they’re essentially responding to a problem that, at least as many Republicans see it, simply does not actually exist.
As Warnock put it:
‘This is an assault on the covenant that we have with one another as an American people, and it’s my job to protect it… It is disconcerting that here we are again, fighting for what’s basic, but we will not be worn down. We intend to stand up to this moment, and I think it’s important that people understand that while race certainly is a part of this equation… at the end of the day, this is about our democracy… We can not allow politicians to silence the people, crowd them out of their own democracy.’
"It is disconcerting that here we are again, fighting for what's basic, but we will not be worn down. We intend to stand up to this moment," says Sen. Raphael Warnock on the restrictive voting law passed in Georgia. "We cannot allow politicians to silence the people" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/esCV2prHaR
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) March 28, 2021