Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley—the lead sponsor of the For the People Act—issued the following statement today after every Republican senator voted once again to filibuster debate on the bill, in addition to separately blocking debate on the DISCLOSE Act and fair, independent redistricting commissions:
“We have a coronavirus pandemic threatening our health. But in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and so many other states across the country, there is a second virus sweeping across the land. It’s called voter suppression, and it’s threatening the Constitutional right of American citizens to shape the decisions that affect us all.
“Tonight, once again, Republican Senators filibustered to ensure the continuing corruption of our election systems. Hundreds of voter suppression bills—each of which are riding the coattails of the ‘Big Lie’ conspiracy—are piling up in state legislatures aimed at preventing targeted groups of American citizens from voting. Billionaires continue to buy elections with dark money. And Republican state officials are already planning how to rig the new round of legislative districts to seize power by denying Americans’ equal representation. This legislation would end all of these tactics so the People—whatever their political affiliation, geography, skin color, or income—get to shape our government. That is an American value, not a partisan one.
“Fifty-six years ago, almost to the day, Lyndon Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He once said: ‘It is wrong—deadly wrong—to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States rights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights.’ It is clear that this struggle is as fierce now as it has ever been, and it’s a struggle we must win. Seizing power by denying your political rivals an equal chance to vote and have their vote counted is a diabolical threat to our constitutional vision and Americans’ freedom.
“Unfortunately, this filibuster was expected, and makes clear that we must look at other options to pass this bill. My colleagues and I remain determined to get the core pillars of the For the People Act—plans to ensure that every eligible American has an equal chance to cast their ballot and have it counted, to stop partisan gerrymandering, and to shine a light on dark money that corrupts our politics—across the finish line and signed into law. Failure is not an option when it comes to preserving Americans’ freedom to vote.”