National Urban League President and CEO
Urges Senate to Pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act
Washington, D.C. (January 13, 2022) – Today, National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement after the House passed the Freedom to Vote: John R Lewis Act with a vote of 220 to 203:
“On the heels of President Biden’s momentous speech on Tuesday, we were pleased to see the House of Representatives swiftly act and pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, which combines the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. We also are glad to see President Biden going to the Senate today to make a direct appeal to Senators. The protection of voting rights for all and the preservation of our democracy must be the chief priority of the nation and its leaders. The Senate should take up and pass the House measure as soon as possible.
“President Biden’s words in Atlanta were loud and clear: ‘history has never been kind to those who have sided with voter suppression over voter’s rights.’ There is a shameful, anti-democratic effort being undertaken by partisan state legislatures across the country to impede and restrict communities of color, native people, young people, older persons, and people with disabilities from voting. These cynical efforts to preserve political power at all costs are a threat to our democracy and need to be challenged directly and unequivocally
“Coast to coast from Arizona to West Virginia, through Utah, and spanning Alaska to Maine — every Senator will have to answer to the American people, to future generations, and to history for the position they take in this moment. The filibuster was used in the past to block civil rights legislation and each Senator must ask whether that is the legacy they want to leave behind. The Senate rules have been changed repeatedly over the years to address our national economy, including most recently in December to raise the debt ceiling. But what good is an economy without a working democracy? We cannot continue to allow arcane Senate rules to stand in the way of our most fundamental right.
“Passing the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act will benefit all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, and strengthen our democracy in the process. It is of paramount importance. The Senate should bring this bill to the floor and pass it immediately. We encourage voters, organizations, and corporations alike to ask yourselves this important question: which side of history are you on? Use your voice to demand the Senate pass voting rights legislation now.”
The National Urban League sent a letter to the House of Representatives this morning in support of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. The full text of the letter is below:
January 13, 2022
As President and CEO of the National Urban League, and on behalf of its 91 affiliates in 37 states and the District of Columbia, I am writing to express our strong support for the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 5746, the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, as it is considered in the House and Senate in the coming days. As a historic civil rights organization dedicated to ensuring that all people are able to exercise their fundamental right to vote, we stand with our fellow civil rights organizations in supporting this bill.
The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act will ensure that voters can safely and freely cast their ballots, protect against election sabotage, stop partisan gerrymandering, and limit the influence of dark money in politics. In 2021 alone, 19 states have enacted 34 new laws that suppress the right to vote for all Americans and more are under consideration today. In addition, states are pursuing manipulative redistricting efforts which discriminate against and dilute the representation of Black and Brown voters. This legislation would fight back against these attacks and ensure the ability for every American to participate in safe, accessible, and transparent elections.
Our organization fully endorses this bill, which responds to the current needs of this nation in the fight for voting rights, and urges you to support this legislation. For more information, please contact Yvette Badu-Nimako, Senior Director for Judiciary, Civil Rights and Social Justice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marc H. Morial
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Urban League