Earlier this month the US House of Representatives passed HR 1, the For the People Act, a once-in-a-generation democracy reform package to clean up our political system, expand and protect voting rights, end gerrymandering, and counter the power of big money in politics. While this is good news, with 43 states trying to enact legislation that could make it harder to vote, it’s more important than ever that the Senate pass the For the People Act to thwart these attacks.
With all of the bad ideas advancing at the state Capitol, it probably comes as no surprise that West Virginia is not immune to these attacks. Measures under consideration here aren’t as extreme as some of the restrictions Republican led legislatures are pursuing in other states, but instead of taking steps to modernize our elections and embracing the expanding voting options that helped West Virginians vote safely during the ongoing pandemic, driving the second highest turnout in state history, as Democrats in the legislature proposed, the WV Senate advanced a bill (SB 565) to limit access to early voting, gut automatic voter registration, and make it easier to remove voters from the rolls for not voting.
We can’t let the assault on voting rights in West Virginia and around the country go unanswered. Fortunately, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, by passing the For the People Act, the US Senate can put a stop to these legislative attempts to suppress the vote.
Senator Joe Manchin is a key voice in the Senate’s upcoming debate on this landmark bill to protect voting rights, limit big money’s influence, end gerrymandering, and clean up our government. Senator Manchin co-sponsored the For the People Act in 2019 and he needs to hear from constituents right now that they appreciate his past support and that we’re counting on him to support this big, bold democracy reform package in 2021.
Senator Manchin – 202-224-3954 (Washington) / 304-342-5855 (Charleston) – Email
As a member of the Senate Rules Committee, Senator Capito also needs to hear from you. On Wednesday, the committee will hold a hearing on the For the People Act, and among those scheduled to testify is Secretary of State Mac Warner. Warner has shamefully perpetuated the Big Lie about widespread voter fraud and fueled the false narrative that the Presidential election was stolen by participating in ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in Charleston in December, and supporting a baseless lawsuit to overturn the will of the voters in several states. Now he’s lying to West Virginians about the For the People Act, and being given a national platform to voice his opposition. We need to let Senator Capito know that he doesn’t speak for us, and that we won’t let lies and misinformation be used to restrict voting access.
Senator Capito – 202-224-6472 (Washington) / 304-347-5372 (Charleston) – Email
While members of the Judiciary Committee in the WV Senate were debating SB 565, Senator Raphael Warnock gave his first speech on the floor of the US Senate. Referring to the wave of voting restrictions pending in state legislatures, he said, “We are witnessing right now a massive and unabashed assault on voting rights unlike anything we have seen since the Jim Crow era. This is Jim Crow in new clothes.”
In urging his colleagues to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Warnock went on to say, “Politicians in my home state and all across America, in their craven lust for power, have launched a full-fledged assault on voting rights. They are focused on winning at any cost, even the cost of the democracy itself. I submit that it is the job of each citizen to stand up for the voting rights of every citizen. And it is the job of this body to do all that it can to defend the viability of our democracy.”