Today, members of the United States Senate failed to reach the 60-vote supermajority necessary to end a filibuster of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), critical federal legislation that will help restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and much-needed protections against the ongoing assaults on the voting rights of Black voters and other voters of color at the state level.
In response, Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement:
“At a critical moment in the history of our constitutional democracy — when the right to vote is under attack, hyper-partisan gerrymandering is already defining much of the redistricting process nationwide, and election officials are being threatened for simply ensuring that all eligible voters are able to vote and have their vote counted — the United States Senate has again chosen to turn its back on the American people.
“Supporters of these critical voting rights measures have made repeated attempts to engage with Republicans to produce bipartisan reforms, but efforts to reach an agreement have rarely, if ever, been met with reciprocal good faith. To their credit, in recent days, Senators Joe Manchin and Lisa Murkowski came together with Senate leadership to agree to a bipartisan compromise version of the VRAA. Even so, 48 senators refused to even open a debate on the bill.
“It remains within the Senate’s power, however, to finally take action. And the stakes, democracy itself, could not be clearer. The time for action is now. We cannot continue to allow the filibuster, an archaic Senate tradition — one that, historically, has been a favored tool of those who oppose civil rights — to be used to obstruct the advancement of this critical voting rights legislation.
“We urge the Senate to take any and all necessary actions to ensure that federal voting rights legislation becomes law before it is too late.”
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.