Jon Ossoff Takes a Stand: Will Introduce “Right to Vote Act” in the Senate

Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) announced that he will introduce the “Right to Vote Act” in the Senate.

The legislation would create a statutory right to vote in elections, would prevent states from limiting the right to vote without justification, and ensure that every vote is counted. It has received the endorsement of Fair Fight Action, and the ACLU Voting Project.

Ossoff said he encourages activists “to keep pushing because the right to vote is fundamental.”

“People bled and died to secure it,” he added. “There does not exist in U.S. law an affirmative guarantee of the right to vote, and so the Right to Vote Act, which I’m introducing this week, establishes that affirmative guarantee of voting rights. It holds that any American citizen can challenge a state law which diminishes or restricts the right to vote, which makes it harder to vote, and require any state in our union to justify those restrictions with specific purpose and justification and to demonstrate that it is the least restrictive means to achieving their ends.”

Ossoff noted that the Right to Vote Act “may move as part of a broader measure,” supporting the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

Above all, the legislation would “establish that every American has the right to vote and “any state that would impair, restrict or reduce it must be held to the highest standard and that American citizens can take them to court.”

Ossoff said the Biden administration is committed to securing and protecting voting rights and encouraged activists and grassroots organizers “to continue to push Congress and to continue to push all of us here to advance federal legislation that will secure the franchise in the face of state legislatures across the country that are restricting access to the ballot for purely partisan ends on the basis of [ex-President] Donald Trump’s lies about the last election.”

You can watch his interview in the video below.

Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff says he is introducing an act that would establish that every American has the right to vote and “any state that would impair, restrict or reduce it must be held to the highest standard and that American citizens can take them to court.” pic.twitter.com/FOb0Xy8L79 read more

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Says Democrats Will Be Arrested and GOP Will Work on Passing Voting Restrictions

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R) told Fox News that the Democrats who fled the state to block a bill that would have tightened voter restrictions in the GOP-controlled state.

Patrick expressed confidence that the matter would be resolved soon.

“They can’t hold out forever. They have families back home. They have jobs back home. And pretty soon, their wives or husbands will say, ‘Hey, it’s time to get back. Back home.’ And when they get home for a special session, they’ll be arrested and brought to the Capitol and we will pass these bills.”

On Tuesday, the Texas House authorized arrest warrants for the Democrats who left the state.

“Members, the sergeant-at-arms and the officers appointed by him are directed to send for all absentees whose attendance is not excused for the purpose of securing and maintaining their attendance — under warrant of arrest, if necessary,” House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), said from the floor. read more

Texas House Authorizes Arrest Warrants for Democrats Who Left State to Block Voter Restrictions

The Texas House has authorized arrest warrants for the Democrats who left the state to block a bill that would have tightened voter restrictions in the GOP-controlled state.

“Members, the sergeant-at-arms and the officers appointed by him are directed to send for all absentees whose attendance is not excused for the purpose of securing and maintaining their attendance — under warrant of arrest, if necessary,” House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), said from the floor. read more

Texas House Democrat Trey Martinez Fischer Defends His Party for Fleeing State to Block Voter Restrictions

Speaking to CNN, Texas House Democrat Trey Martinez Fischer said Democrats need to have “courage,” “conviction,” and “sometimes a little bit of defiance” if they want to stand up in the fight against Republican attempts to impose restrictions on the right to vote.

Martinez Fischer’s remarks came after Texas Democrats fled the state to block Republicans from passing a new voting bill while also applying pressure on Congress to pass the For the People Act at the federal level.

“We have a job to do. We are elected by our constituents to be their voice,” he said. “They have no voice and voting rights is fundamental, so I think we have to have the courage, we have to have conviction, and sometimes a little bit of defiance.”

“The eyes of the nation are on Texas,” he continued, “and we hope to rally the country and we hope that the Senate will hear us and act. This is where we are: This is a now or never moment and we’re not going to stay home, we’re not just going to take our medicine and lose in defeat. We want to make sure we are doing everything we can in this final push to bring a resolution to a very controversial issue in this country.”

Martinez Fischer also addressed Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s threat to arrest Democrats upon their return. Abbott has also promised to “continue to call a special session after special session after special session all the way up until election next year” in order to pass voter restrictions.

“This is the risk we take for standing up for democracy,” Martinez Fischer said. “We’re talking about voting rights here. There were people who were beaten by clubs, attacked by dogs, and murdered to protect this sacred right so this threat and this finger-pointing by the governor is not going to intimidate all of us. We’re strong and united and we want to bring voting rights reform to this country.”

"We are elected by the constituents to be their voice … We have to have the courage, we have to have conviction, and sometimes a little bit of defiance," Texas House Democrat Trey Martinez Fischer says on leaving the state to block Republicans from passing voting restrictions. pic.twitter.com/RfBsmvPoQC read more

Department of Justice Suing Georgia Over Voting Restrictions

The Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit challenging new voting restrictions in Georgia.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the DOJ‘s action during a press conference this morning.

“This lawsuit is the first of many steps we are taking to ensure that all eligible voters can cast a vote, that all lawful votes are counted, and that every voter has access to accurate information,” he said. 

“The rights of all eligible citizens to vote are the central pillars of our democracy,” Garland said. “They are the rights from which all other rights ultimately flow.”

He added: “Where we believe that the civil rights of Americans have been violated, we will not hesitate to act.” read more

Right-Wing Threats to Poll Workers Endanger Future Elections

Volunteering to serve as an election official is one of the most important responsibilities a person can accept.

There are those poll workers who sign in voters, record they have voted, and assist those experiencing problems casting their ballots.

There are also poll watchers, those who quietly observe voters’ interactions with poll workers and ensure voters and workers alike are refraining from illegal or otherwise unpermitted behavior, like snapping pictures of their ballots or attempting to influence other voters.

Then there are professionals at county election boards and states‘ secretaries of state offices working behind the scenes to keep track of registered voters and their party affiliations, verify absentee ballots go out and return on time, provide ample poll workers, address technology issues, comply with election laws,  and, of course, count each ballot.

They are important jobs that require commitment to the democratic process.

All receive training in election laws and procedures that includes a promise not to “electioneer;” i.e., act in a way that can be construed as intimidating, influencing voters toward certain candidates, or otherwise interfering with voters’ opportunity to cast their ballots.

These jobs are not known for being particularly exciting nor dangerous.

However, this past November, during the most tense presidential election in modern American history, threats to election workers spiked as right-wing Donald Trump supporters targeted their animosity toward those they baselessly felt were helping to “steal votes” from Trump.

Acting on lies Trump and right-wing hate media fed them about smuggled ballots and votes being overturned and/or discarded, election officials found themselves confronting death threats, being followed,  and receiving harassing phone messages.

recent Brennan Center for Justice and Bipartisan Policy Center survey of over 200 local election officials reveals about a third expressed feeling either very or somewhat concerned about “being harassed on the job” or “feeling unsafe.”

Nearly 4-in-10 reported concern over “facing pressure to certify election results.”

Al Schmidt, a republican member of Philadelphia’s city board of elections,

explains read more

Representative Sharice Davids Slams Republican Senators for Blocking Voting Rights Bill

Speaking on CNN, Representative Sharice Davids (D-Kans.) slammed Republican senators who blocked the For the People Act, a comprehensive voting and election reform bill, from reaching the floor for debate.

“I am so disappointed in my Republican colleagues in the Senate for continuing to block the will of the people,” she said. “There are so many people in Kansas who have reached out to me to tell me that they want to see the For the People Act passed.”

“It is a huge failing on their part to bring such an important issue up for debate, particularly when they are across the country, the Republican leaders across the country are trying to inhibit people from voting, trying to suppress the vote,” she continued. “It’s true in Kansas. We’re still trying to dig ourselves out of the voter suppression issues that [former Kansas Secretary of State] Kris Kobach got us into.”

When asked whether she also blames Democrats, namely Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) whose objections held up the bill amid arguments about abolishing the filibuster,  or the Biden administration, Davids was firm.

“Look, the Democratic Party, and the folks in Kansas who I’ve been working with, have been pushing for this since before I even got elected,” said Davids, who took office in 2019. “The For the People Act was something I was a strong proponent of to be at the top of the priority list when I got to Congress… what we’re seeing is really just obstruction from the Republicans in D.C. and then, you know, in states like Kansas where we have a Republican supermajority that’s really trying to suppress the vote, it’s clear to me that the Republican electeds right now are really just trying to stop people from voting.”

You can watch her interview below.

"I am so disappointed in my Republican colleagues in the Senate," Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids says after Senate GOP blocks the For the People Act. "There are so many people in Kansas who have reached out to me to tell me that they want to see the for the people act passed." pic.twitter.com/ojqmTYX53D read more

One of the Biggest Democratic Super PACs Has Pledged $20 Million for Voting Rights Initiatives Ahead of 2022

Priorities USA, one of the biggest Democratic Super PACs, has pledged $20 million for voting rights initiatives ahead of the 2022 election cycle. The group’s announcement is aimed at actions by Republicans to restrict voting access and will comprise a digital effort that will include “a series of extensive voter information campaigns, going beyond a more traditional approach that would consist solely of persuasion ads,” according to The New York Times. That effort will also include text message reminders to vote and request absentee ballots.

A significant amount of that money will go to legal efforts, too; as one of the leading litigators in voting rights lawsuits in the country, Priorities USA has challenged efforts by former President Donald Trump‘s campaign to overturn election results and restrict voting access.

“The purpose of this program is to really center the voters who we know are particularly targeted by the Republicans’ suppression efforts,” said Danielle Butterfield, the executive director of Priorities USA. “Those are voters of color, Black and Latino voters specifically, and we plan to center them both in our creative and our targeting to make sure that they are aware of how empowering voting is.” read more

Senate Republicans Prepare to Kill Voting Rights Bill Today

Senate Democrats are preparing for a defeat as their Republican colleagues unite to kill the For the People Act, a voting and election reform bill that Democrats have made a top priority. Republicans have called the bill a partisan exercise and Democrats have faced opposition from within their own party, most notably from Senator Joe Manchin (W. Va.), who recently put forward several compromises that received support from prominent leaders such as voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams.

Today’s vote is a procedural vote on whether to begin debate on the bill and would need 60 votes to succeed, a threshold that it is not expected to meet even if Democrats manage to secure votes from everyone in their caucus. Republicans appear united against the bill and it is unlikely 10 Republicans would break away to support it.

Last night, Manchin said he was still unsure whether he would vote to advance the bill.

“I got to see. I hope they make some changes or agree to some changes,” Manchin said. “I think we put out an awful lot of good changes, I think, hopefully, the country would agree… that makes a lot of sense for a lot of voters.” read more

Beto O’Rourke Says He Supports Joe Manchin’s Voting Rights Compromise

During an appearance on CNN, former Representative Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) said he supports Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-W. Va.) policy demands on voter reform for the Senate to pass the For the People Act.

Manchin’s demands include banning partisan gerrymandering; requiring voter identification with new alternatives, such as a utility bill; mandating at least 15 consecutive days of early voting; and making Election Day a public holiday.

“This is progress… he’s [Manchin] trying to find a way to protect voting rights in this country at a moment that they’re under attack in more than 40 states in the wake of an insurrection on the 6th of January that sought to overturn that election and in the midst of a big lie trafficking by the former president but by those whom the senator serves with in the Senate and in [the] Congress,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke called the compromise “a step in the right direction” and believes that Manchin’s demands might have produced an agreement “that will allow the Senate to move forward.”

You can listen to O’Rourke’s remarks in the video below.

.@BetoORourke says he supports the Manchin compromise on voting, is open to the voter ID component and challenges @McConaughey, who is considering a run for TX gov, to show up for the “For the People Act” rally in Austin this weekend. pic.twitter.com/5zTTUQ0Lmm read more

Representative Jamaal Bowman: Joe Manchin Is “The New Mitch McConnell

Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) criticized Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) after it emerged that Manchin would vote against an election reform bill crucial to the Democratic agenda. Bowman said Manchin is “doing everything in his power to stop democracy.”

Bowman further compared Manchin and his tactics to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom he considers an obstructionist. Indeed, McConnell has made it clear that he has made it a personal mission of his to block as much legislation proposed by Democrats as possible.

“Joe Manchin has become the new Mitch McConnell,” Bowman said. “Mitch McConnell, during Obama‘s’ presidency, said he would do everything in his power to stop Obama. He’s also repeated that now during the Biden presidency,” he said.

And now Joe Manchin is doing everything in his power to stop democracy and to stop our work for the people,” he continued, adding: “Manchin is not pushing us closer to bipartisanship, he is doing the work of the Republican Party by being an obstructionist, just like they’ve been since the beginning of Biden’s presidency.”

You can watch Bowman’s interview below.

"Joe Manchin has become the new Mitch McConnell," Rep. Jamaal Bowman says as the West Virginia senator tanks Democrats' hopes of going it alone on their sweeping agenda.

"He's doing the work of the Republican Party by being an obstructionist."https://t.co/E5XYuYSBcr pic.twitter.com/9uFZhNBWfc read more

WATCH: Joy Reid Slams Kyrsten Sinema For Pretending to Care About Voting Rights

Democrats rejoiced in January when wins by Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won their races giving the party control of the senate. And that advantage allowed them to push through a major COVID relief bill that aided millions of Americans.

But the party has a much bigger agenda they would like to accomplish. Unfortunately, Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema seem to be standing in the way of their progress.

During a Wednesday night segment, Joy Reid took Sinema to task for pretending to care about the Democratic agenda without really supporting it. The host told her audience:

“She (Sinema) understands what’s happening in her own state. I can only conclude that she supports what they’re doing and wants it to proceed because she says – she’s on the bill – she’s a cosponsor [of the For the People Act that addresses voting rights]. That’s real convenient to let her show up at Black churches on MLK Day, so she can cover herself that way. But I can not conclude other than that what she sees happening that Republicans are doing, she’s for it, because she’s not for changing it. She’s not for stopping it. I don’t know what else to conclude.”

https://twitter.com/politicususa/status/1400253173344911363 read more

Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain Can Barely Answer Whether “Voter Reform” Discriminates Against Minorities

Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain (R) claimed that a Texas “voter reform” bill doesn’t discriminate against non-whites despite concerns from Democrats and voting rights advocates that it does.

“Democrats say the bill discourages minorities from voting. What is your argument against that?” “Fox and Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked Cain during the program.

“Well, had they read the bill, they wouldn’t think so,” Cain said.

“What about the ‘Soul to the Poll’?” Earhardt asked, referring to a provision in the bill that set a new window for early voting on Sundays, limiting it to 1 to 9 p.m.

“‘Souls to the Polls’ only became an argument only became an argument only there on the floor of the Senate,” Cain responded. “No one had raised any of those questions beforehand. I think it’s politics. Frankly, behind the scenes they tell you this bill, they’ve often said, ‘This doesn’t do what it said it does.’ And that’s true. When we read it, it doesn’t do those things.”

You can hear Cain’s comments in the video below.

When asked to respond to people saying a "voter reform" law discriminates against non-whites, a Texas state representative basically just says "no" pic.twitter.com/LWiRuKLbkm

— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis)

June 2, 2021 read more

Georgia Sued by Civil Rights Groups Over Voting Restrictions

The state of Georgia has made headlines in recent days after GOP lawmakers passed legislation that significantly curbs voting rights, including stricter identification requirements and a measure that makes it a misdemeanor to offer food and water to voters waiting in line.

“These provisions lack any justification for their burdensome and discriminatory effects on voting,” reads the lawsuit, which was filed by the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter Fund and Rise, Inc. “Instead, they represent a hodgepodge of unnecessary restrictions that target almost every aspect of the voting process but serve no legitimate purpose or compelling state interest other than to make absentee, early, and election-day voting more difficult — especially for minority voters.”

News of the lawsuit comes amid heavy criticism for the office of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp after Georgia State Representative Park Cannon (D) was arrested for attempting to knock on Kemp’s door as he was in the process of signing the GOP’s voting rights measure.

Video of Cannon’s arrest went viral last night.

“Why are you arresting her?” This Facebook Live video from @TWareStevens shows the moment authorities detained state Rep. Park Cannon as @GovKemp was behind those doors signing elections restrictions into law. #gapol pic.twitter.com/U1xMJ6tZrY read more

Sean Hannity Says That if Dems Pass H.R 1, They’ll Next Try to Allow 15 Year-Olds to Vote

In January, Georgia voters gave Democrats control of the Senate, White House and the House of Representatives. And President Joe Biden has plenty of goals while in power.

The new President is very focused on expanding voting rights. He hopes to do this by passing the For the People or H.R 1. The bill has already been passed by the House and is now on to the Senate.

During his Monday radio show, Sean Hannity tore into the bill. The Fox host went to an extreme, claiming that Democrats will next want to allow 15 year-olds to vote.

The pundit began, “This is the bill that would allow felons to vote, that would allow automatic registration to vote, that would allow and institutionalize mail-in ballots in perpetuity. This is the one that would unconstitutionally usurp the authority written into our Constitution for state legislatures to determine the time and manner of elections in their individual states, so I don’t think it’s going to be constitution[al].’

Hannity then continued, “Requires registration for those under 18, and states to carry out a plan to increase, you know — people, what are we going to have, 15-year-olds voting next? What’s the legal drinking age?”

The host closed:

“Prohibits the publication of “misleading information about elections” a federal crime to communicate or cause to be communicated information that is knowingly false. Well, that could affect them — because every two years they say that Republicans are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, now transphobic, and want dirty air and water and want to kill grandma. That might apply to them.” read more