Statement on Eliminating the Filibuster to Secure Voting Rights

Today, Robert Brandon, President & CEO of Fair Elections Center, issued the following statement after the establishment of a commission to investigate the January 6th Capitol attack was blocked in the Senate by a filibuster:


“The United States government has a foundational responsibility, grounded in the Constitution, to ensure the voting rights of all Americans and to protect these rights from discrimination. U.S. history is replete with examples of the federal government stepping in to protect the civil rights and voting rights of those subjected to state efforts to block access to basic civil rights including access to the polls. With today’s filibuster of the bill establishing a commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection, the Senate has failed in its duty to defend our democracy.”


“Today’s vote is also the latest evidence of how the filibuster currently serves as a major obstacle to federal legislation that would protect our nation’s democracy. The filibuster is deeply rooted in white supremacy and has long been wielded as a tool for blocking efforts to advance social and political equality. Neither the U.S Constitution or the original rules of the U.S. Senate required more than a majority vote to adopt legislation. Yet, throughout history, the development of the filibuster has enabled a small but determined minority of Senators to block the passage of legislation protecting the civil rights of marginalized communities, such as anti-lynching and voting rights legislation, despite the support of a majority of Americans for such policies. Our nation can no longer afford to let an autocratic minority in the Senate spur efforts to curtail the voting rights of Americans everywhere.”


“As state legislatures advance voter suppression bills and efforts like the fake election ‘audit’ in Arizona undermine faith in our democracy, our federal government must push back against these anti-democratic laws and practices that will disenfranchise millions of citizens, largely those in Black, brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities. In order to make sure these efforts are not stalled, we must rid our nation of any and all barriers that prevent people from making their voices heard in our democracy, including the Senate filibuster.


“We urge our elected leaders to dismantle all impediments to Congress passing both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. We cannot let any barriers, including the Senate filibuster, stand in the way of advancing voting rights for all.”


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