Voting Rights Bill Blocked In Senate

Sophie DeWael, MVC Writer

On January 19th, the proposed voting rights bill was decisively blocked from the Senate as the appeal to overrule the filibuster was overturned. Without the filibuster, the Senate would have only needed a simple majority instead of the sixty votes that it required with the filibuster. There would have been enough support to pass the bill in the Senate without the filibuster since the majority was in favor at 52-48.

If the voting rights bill was passed it would have made Election Day a federal holiday, created an easier voting registration process, allowed for people with past criminal charges to vote, established voter fraud/corruption criminal offenses, expanded voter security, outlined criteria for congressional redistricting, and addressed the campaign finances. The legislation was a combination of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, which have both been blocked in the legislature four times.

The bill passed in the House of Representatives with a majority of 220-203 which was enough for it to proceed onto the Senate floor, but in the end there was not enough support in the Senate to break the filibuster that the Republicans enacted.

“Although the Senate’s inaction is disappointing, this is not the end,” tweeted Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina. “Those of us who are committed to our nation’s pursuit of a more perfect Union will continue to heed John Lewis’ admonition to ‘stand up, speak out and get in the way’ to get voter protections signed into law.”

Many Democrats have spoken up after the legislature failed to share that they will not stop trying to pass bills that secure voting rights. Some have verbalized the possibility that the voting rights might have to be split into smaller bills and voted on individually in order to have a better chance at getting a bill passed.