Hundreds of Democratic state legislators call on Congress to pass election reform

Hundreds of Democratic state legislators call on Congress to pass election reform
© Greg Nash

A group of nearly 500 Democratic state lawmakers from across the U.S. signed an open letter released Tuesday in support of passing federal voting rights legislation.

The open letter addressed to congressional leadership called for the passing of the John LewisJohn LewisHarris, CBC put weight behind activist-led National Black Voter Day Budowsky: High stakes drama for Biden, Manchin, Sinema Stacey Abrams backs Senate Democrats' voting rights compromise MORE Voting Rights Act and For the People Act in order to establish "common-sense national standards."

The latter bill, which has passed the Democratic-controlled House, is set for a Senate vote Tuesday, though it is expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster.

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"As state legislators, we are the day-to-day technicians in fifty unique laboratories of democracy. We do our part to make government work to the benefit of all, regardless of party," the letter read. "This was true during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when almost every state did its patriotic duty to provide voters relief and remove barriers to voting. This expansion of safe, secure voting led to an election with historic turnout."

The lawmakers made note of the slew of voting restrictions that have either been passed or recently advanced in GOP-led state legislatures around the country.

"Make no mistake: these unpatriotic attacks on our elections will undermine confidence that elections in America can possibly represent the will of a checked and balanced majority," the lawmakers wrote, adding that the laws present a "deep threat to our democracy."

"Indeed, we have attempted again and again to work with our Republican colleagues to set policies that safely and securely expanded voting access — but they simply refuse to act in good faith," they added. "We are out of options. We need your help."

“In the past week, Democrats from Senator Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit Overnight Health Care — Presented by Indivior —Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine safe for young kids MORE to Stacey Abrams have come out in support of comprehensive, national protections for voting rights. Now it’s time for Congress to act," said Texas state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D), one of the letter's signatories.

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Support for passing voting rights legislation has continued to swell, with dozens of companies and media figures urging Congress to pass the For the People Act.

On Monday over 70 businesses signed a letter to Congress calling for both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to be passed.

"The For the People Act would override many of the abusive state laws that make it harder for millions to cast their ballots, and set national standards for free and fair elections," it said.