As states across the country pass laws restricting access to the ballot box and supporters of former President Trump continue to spread lies about the 2020 election, protecting the right to vote and passing democracy reform has only become more essential. On January 13, CREW sent a letter to all United States Senators calling on them to take all possible measures to pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, including changing the Senate rules if necessary. The Freedom to Vote Act would ensure every citizen’s ability to vote freely and safely, combat election sabotage, restrict the use of dark money in elections, and stop partisan gerrymandering. The letter was sent right before Senate Democrats began a last-ditch effort to change filibuster rules and open debate on the legislation. Senate Republicans have used the filibuster for months to block the legislation, and on January 18 that obstruction continued, when Democrats Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined all the Republican Senators to vote against the change in Senate rules and block the legislation that evening.
Without strong voting rights reforms, states will continue to disenfranchise voters, restrict access to the ballot box, and spread the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. In the last year, 19 states passed 34 new laws restricting access to voting. These laws directly limit voting hours on election day, close additional precincts, restrict access to mail-in ballots, impose strict voter ID requirements, and draw racially-gerrymandered maps to decrease Black and Brown voter power.
CREW’s work on this bill builds on our longtime advocacy for campaign finance reform, combating dark money in our elections, and strengthening ethics laws. Since Trump’s attempt to steal the 2020 election, it is clear that in order to protect our democracy, every citizen must be guaranteed an equal opportunity to vote, have their vote count fairly, and participate in elections unobstructed by money or fear mongering. Many of the voting laws that have recently been put in place threaten this right.. While the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act has not yet passed the Senate, CREW continues to advocate for the democracy and voting rights reforms needed to build a fair, transparent, equitable government.