Actress Alyssa Milano was arrested during a voting rights protest at the White House on Tuesday as the Senate gears up for a vote on the Freedom to Vote Act, a scaled-back version of the voting rights bill that Senate Republicans blocked in June.
Milano announced her arrest in a tweet Tuesday afternoon. She said she had been demonstrating with People for the American Way, a progressive nonprofit organization that advocates for equal rights and constitutional liberties.
The actress said she was arrested “for demanding the Biden Administration and the Senate to use their mandate to protect voting rights.”
“Stand with me and [People for the American Way] and tell the Senate and White House that voting rights shouldn’t depend on where you live,” she added.
I was just arrested for demanding the Biden Administration and the Senate to use their mandate to protect voting rights. Stand with me and @peoplefor and tell the Senate and White House that voting rights shouldn’t depend on where you live. #DontMuteOurVote— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 19, 2021
The Hill has reached out to the U.S. Park Service for more information.
Ben Jealous, the president of People for the American Way, was also arrested during the protest, according to his Twitter account and a statement from the group.
Twenty-three other participants were arrested at Tuesday’s protest, according to the organization.
The bill calls for easing the voter registration process and establishing a 15-day minimum early voting window.
It would also declare Election Day a federal holiday, require that states provide same-day voter registration at all polling places by 2024, and make a variety of cards and documents valid for in-person voting proof of identification.
The push for the legislation comes after Senate Republicans blocked the For the People Act in June, tanking the Democrats’ bill that sought to overhaul federal elections.
A number of Hollywood figured were vocal in advocating for the bill, using their platforms to push for the reforms.
That legislation, however, ultimately failed because Democrats were unable to get 10 Republicans on board to overcome a legislative filibuster, a hurdle they will likely face again.
Milano invoked the words of the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDemocratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Obama, Dave Chappelle nominated in same Grammy category MORE (D-Ga.) in her push for the voting rights legislation, contending that federal laws are needed to safeguard the right to vote amid attempts by a number of states to restrict access to the ballot box.
“John Lewis told us, ‘The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.’ States across the country are trying to take it away from so many people in a cynical power grab. We can’t let them,” Milano said in a statement.
“We need federal law right now to protect voting rights for all Americans, no matter which state they happen to live in. It’s a cause that’s worth getting arrested for,” she added.
Jealous, in a statement before his arrest, said the Freedom to Vote Act is needed to safeguard voting rights for all Americans in upcoming elections.
“We came back to the White House to deliver a clear message to President BidenJoe BidenMarcus Garvey's descendants call for Biden to pardon civil rights leader posthumously GOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors MORE: we need actions that match the urgency of his words on voting rights – and time is running out,” Jealous said.
“The Freedom to Vote Act has to pass now if we are going to protect voting rights in the next election for all of us: for Black voters and Brown voters, for women, for younger voters and older voters, voters with disabilities and working people of all backgrounds.” he added.
The president of the nonprofit group said Biden “needs to step up, or voting rights will die on his watch.”
BREAKING: A statement from Ben Jealous prior to his arrest:— Ben Jealous (@BenJealous) October 19, 2021
“We came back to the White House to deliver a clear message to President Biden: we need actions that match the urgency of his words on voting rights – and time is running out.
Milano made headlines in June when she said said she was "considering" a run for the U.S. House in 2024.