Protecting Our Voting Rights

A record 159 million Americans turned out to vote  in 2020. We should celebrate! Instead, 43 states are  in the process of enacting over 250 voter restriction bills that will make it harder for young, elderly, and  voters of color to make their voices heard. Georgia  was only the first. It’s up to Congress now to pass  the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act to protect every Americans’ right to vote. 

For the People

Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley has teamed up with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senate  Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY)  introducing S.1., the For the People Act—  comprehensive reforms that would end special-interest corruption of our politics and make government work for the people.  

The landmark legislation—companion legislation  to H.R. 1, which was passed by the U.S. House of  Representatives on March 3—aims to restore the  promise of American democracy by guaranteeing  every American citizen full access to the ballot by  addressing voter intimidation and suppression,  which are among the biggest examples of systemic  racism in America; ending the corrupting power of  dark money in our campaigns; and putting an end  to gerrymandering. In addition, it strengthens  ethics laws to ensure that public servants work for  the public interest. 

“Every American—regardless of the color of their  skin, where they live, or how much money they  have—deserves a seat at the table and an equal  voice in their government,” said Merkley. “If you really believe in the vision of our republic, you believe in voter empowerment and not voter suppression.” 

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act. Originally called the Voting Rights Advancement  Act was renamed for the late civil rights icon and  congressman following his death, looks to restore  the preclearance formula to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The VRA is widely regarded as the single  most effective piece of civil rights legislation in  our nation’s history. As recently as 2006 it won  reauthorization with overwhelming bipartisan  support. The law allowed federal officials and  courts to block discriminatory changes in voting  rules in states with a history of voting rights  violations. It blocked 86 attempts to subvert  

voting rights between 1998 and 2013 from  becoming law. Until the Supreme Court stuck it  down in 2013 as no longer needed. We’re now  seeing the assault on voting rights to disenfranchise voters, just as lawmakers did before the original  Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. 

Corporate America begins to take a stand. They’ve done this before in 2006; helping to push  reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act. Pressure is  mounting on leading companies in Texas, Arizona  and other states, particularly after Major League  Baseball’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game  out of Atlanta. A joint statement from executives at  nearly 200 companies, including HP, Microsoft,  PayPal, Target, Twitter, Uber took aim at state  legislation “threatening to make voting more  difficult” and said “elections are not improved”  when lawmakers impose new barriers to voting.  As customers and employees, we can certainly  encourage this kind of action. More info at 

You can make a difference, stay engaged and  support democracy. 

Make calls, write Letters to the Editor, share the  message. These and many other organizations are  working now to protect the vote, pass For The  People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act,  and fix the filibuster. 

Common Cause 


Center for Common Ground Fair Fight Action 

Black Voters Matter Voting Rights Alliance