During a new appearance on MSNBC, former state legislative leader and current voting rights activist Stacey Abrams spoke in support of the Freedom to Vote Act, a piece of legislation to protect voting rights that even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has agreed to support. He was the sole Senate Democrat who’d not signed on as a co-sponsor to a previously rolled out voting rights bill known as the For the People Act. If enacted, the Freedom to Vote Act would (among other provisions) “make it easier to register to vote, make Election Day a public holiday, ensure states have early voting for federal elections and allow all voters to request mail-in ballots,” as recently explained by CNN.
Abrams pointedly commented as follows:
‘I am excited and very supportive of the Freedom to Vote Act. It takes the best intentions that we have for protecting our democracy and concretizes it, making sure that we have uniform standards across this country, so that the quality of our democracy doesn’t vary from geography to geography or based on your race. Those are two important steps. And what this bill does is it takes the important pieces that we need to protect our democracy, to protect our elections, and modernizes it. [It] recognizes that the challenges we faced in 2020, in 2018 have now been joined by subversion of elections, by threats and intimidation to election workers and to voters, and it responds not only to what we knew we faced, but to new challenges that have been brought forward by the legislation that’s been passing in 18 states and that is pending in 49 states.’
Abrams also called the Freedom to Vote Act “an incredibly important step forward” alongside the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. That latter piece of legislation is slated for consideration by the Senate in the near future. If made law, it would re-establish a requirement for federal authorities to approve certain changes to the handling of elections before those changes are actually put in place. The hope would be to stop at least some instances of voter suppression before they even begin, and such a provision was included in the 1965 Voting Rights Act. With those previous rules in place, Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that the Justice Department was able to stop “thousands” of suppressive moves.
Check out Abrams’s remarks below: