SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, Rep. Emma Greenman (DFL - Minneapolis) and Rep. Liz Boldon (DFL - Rochester) called on the U.S. Senate to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act before the August recess. The lawmakers met with Senators to highlight the urgent need for legislation to defend and strengthen the freedom to vote and joined state legislators from more than 30 states at the Recess Can Wait - Our Democracy Can’t rally in Washington, D.C.
“As a voting rights lawyer, I’ve been on the frontlines of the fight for our embattled democracy,” said Rep. Greenman. “This is a make or break moment, and we’re doing everything we can at the state level to protect and strengthen the freedom to vote. Today, I’m proud to join more than 100 state legislators from across the country in D.C. to stand with members of the Texas House who’ve courageously fought to block anti-voter policies and brought the fight to our nation’s Capitol. To ensure all Americans, of every race, political persuasion, and zip code, can participate in our democracy, Congress needs to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act immediately.”
In 2021 alone, 18 states have enacted 30 voter restriction laws that create unnecessary barriers to casting a ballot by mail, establish onerous requirements for voting in-person, and limit opportunities to vote. The new laws will disproportionately impact voters who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, immigrants, young, or elderly. More than 350 anti-voter bills were introduced in other states, including Minnesota.
“The freedom to vote is the cornerstone of our nation’s democracy. Every voter, regardless of race or place has the right to let their voice be heard, and we must protect this right with strong federal legislation,” said Rep. Boldon. “We are at a crossroads and our democracy is in peril. Congress needs to pass the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act before they recess and I’m here in D.C. to advocate for that.””
More voter suppression laws may pass later this year since some state legislatures are still in session. For example, several anti-voter bills are pending in Texas. More than 50 members of the Texas House of Representatives left the state for Washington, D.C. last month to block the restrictive measures, which were introduced by Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican legislators. Rep. Greenman and Rep. Boldon joined the Texas Democrats at the Capitol rally today.
In Minnesota, House DFLers defeated Republican attempts to impose voter ID laws that Minnesotans overwhelmingly rejected in 2012 and to end the state’s tradition of same day registration. Legislators took steps to strengthen absentee voting access and deliver resources local officials need to administer elections, invest in equipment, and further solidify absentee voting. However, Senate Republicans blocked several bills that would strengthen democracy, including legislation that restores the freedom to vote for Minnesotans on probation or parole, prohibits intimidating and harassing voters or election officials, establishes automatic voter registration, and ensures Minnesotans know who is spending money in our elections.