Pelosi Issues Friday Rallying-Cry For Federal Voting Rights Law

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Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), are continuing their push to enact new federal protections for voting rights. Around the country, Republican state officials have pushed suppressive new voting restrictions that do not respond to any documented, systematic problem of election integrity — since such an issue does not exist in the United States, but the measures do make voting more difficult. Many of the provisions that Republican state officials have promoted pose a particular threat to marginalized voters, like those in low income communities who might not have easy access to what’s required.

On Friday, Pelosi spoke out on the occasion of the anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act, again calling for the urgent passage of voting rights protections. Pelosi also lauded the Democratic members of the Texas legislature who recently left their home state in order to block the Texas state House from having the quorum necessary to complete work on a suppressive new elections bill. Pelosi commented as follows:

‘The Texas State Democrats captured the country’s attention with their devotion to our most sacred democratic right: the vote. Not only did their actions stop the TX GOP’s anti-voter bill, their advocacy has moved us closer to passing federal voting rights legislation. Today, on the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which has secured the right to vote for so many, let us recommit ourselves to advancing the #ForThePeople Act and HR4, bills necessary to ensuring we have free and fair elections for generations to come.’

What Pelosi referred to as H.R. 4 is the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would re-impose a requirement for prior approval from federal authorities before the implementation of certain changes to the conducting of elections, with the hope of stopping at least some instances of voter suppression before they start. The other bill, known as the For the People Act, contains an array of provisions that would make voting in federal elections more accessible. That bill was filibustered by Republicans in the Senate, but it could be brought up again. Changing the Senate’s filibuster rules — which currently require the agreement of at least 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before moving forward on most bills — would help with the passage of voting rights protections, but Democratic Senators including Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) continue their support of the filibuster as it stands, citing principles like bipartisanship.