Today, President Joe Biden delivered remarks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, regarding the urgent need to protect voting rights in the United States, especially as increasingly suppressive legislation is being introduced and passed by state legislators throughout the country. Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement regarding the president’s remarks:
“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy – and ensuring equal, unfettered access to the ballot box for all eligible voters is critical to preserving the democratic values enshrined in our Constitution and built into our institutions. We commend President Biden for recognizing the perilousness of the threats to this fundamental right — particularly for voters of color – and the imminent danger they pose to the soundness of our democracy. We believe, as we shared with the President directly in a meeting at the White House last week, that the urgency of this moment requires an end to the use of the filibuster to block critical legislation that is needed to protect the right to vote. We hope that the President will use his influence and voice to speak directly to this issue in the coming days.
“Congress must immediately pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act to again ensure that the right to vote is robustly persevered and protected through federal legislation. The Supreme Court’s decisions upending the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder and Brnovich v. DNC, along with state lawmakers’ relentless efforts to pass suppressive legislation targeting voters of color, make it abundantly clear why passing comprehensive federal voting legislation now constitutes the only way forward. Anything less will result in the continued undermining of our democratic institutions — and will allow unacceptable threats to Black citizenship, voting, and political participation to continue unabated.
“As he did today, President Biden must use his voice, platform, and influence to strongly encourage Congress to pass federal voting rights legislation without delay. We are at a moment of reckoning in this country — and federal lawmakers must act boldly and swiftly to ensure that every voter can equally participate in the political process. Congress has the explicit constitutional duty to protect the right of every eligible person to vote and to ensure that each vote counts. Congress must swiftly meet its obligation to uphold the principles of democracy — and do everything in its power to protect the fundamental right to vote.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.