Today, President Biden and Vice-President Harris delivered remarks in Atlanta, Georgia underscoring their support of federal voting rights legislation and articulating why the U.S. Senate needs to take the steps necessary to allow the legislation to pass with a simple majority.
In response, Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), issued the following statement:
“We commend President Biden and Vice-President Harris for calling on members of the U.S. Senate to do whatever it takes, including a reform to the Senate’s filibuster rules, to preserve democracy in the United States by immediately passing both the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. We urge the White House to continue to deploy the full scope of its influence and power in support of these two critical pieces of legislation.
“As President Biden and Vice-President Harris both noted in their remarks today, state-level attacks on our democratic system, and most especially on Black and Brown Americans’ fundamental right to vote, have not abated in recent years. Just since 2020, in fact, 19 states have passed 34 laws restricting voting access. And the efforts to suppress the vote are continuing right now, with many state legislative sessions beginning this week and with bills being filed which contain measures to further restrict and impede the ability of many people to exercise their right to vote. Furthermore, a climate of threats and intimidation continues to menace nonpartisan election administrators across the country.
“Taken altogether, the picture is clear: multiracial democracy in the U.S. is in grave danger. And while we agree with those who say that the Electoral Count Act (ECA) needs to be reformed, we urge members of the Senate to keep in mind that ECA reforms, while needed, would not address the state-level tidal wave of antidemocratic legislation which poses a severe threat to our democracy. Quite simply, those who would substitute voting rights legislation with reforms of the ECA are presenting a false choice.
“We urge members of the U.S. Senate to fulfill their Constitutional and moral obligations by immediately passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act by whatever legal means are necessary. Nothing less than the future of democracy in the U.S. is at stake.”
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.