Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

early voting

Stickers are seen at an early voting location on June 16, 2021 in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. (Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

'End the Jim Crow Filibuster': Republicans Rebuked After Torpedoing Voting Rights Bill

"There is no compromise voting rights bill that will appease Senate Republicans."

Andrea Germanos

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a compromise voting rights bill—the Freedom to Vote Act—sparking a deluge of criticism from Democrats and progressive groups who said it was the latest evidence of the need to get rid of, or at least reform, the filibuster.

"No Senate rule should stand in the way of the freedom to vote."

"Like clockwork, you can always count on Senate Republicans to filibuster any attempt to make our democracy functional," said Meagan Hatcher-Mays, director of democracy policy for the Indivisible Project, in a statement.

The failed procedural vote had been expected. Democrats needed 60 votes to advance the measure, but the motion received just 49; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) changed his vote to no to be able to bring it up for a later vote.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who opposed the more sweeping and twice-GOP-filibustered For the People Act, helped craft the Freedom to Vote Act, which Democrats unveiled last month.

Supporters of the measure say it would provide a much-needed counter to the wave of voter suppression measures in at least 19 states. Among other provisions, the Freedom to Vote Act would ban partisan gerrymandering in congressional redistricting, make Election Day a national holiday, and enact an automatic voter registration system.

According to Stand Up America executive director Christina Harvey, "Manchin has exhausted every possible means of passing this bill on a bipartisan basis, and the American public has patiently waited while he has attempted to win support from an immovable Republican caucus."

"There is no compromise voting rights bill that will appease Senate Republicans, and today's filibuster made that clear," she said. "Senator Manchin tried. It didn't work. Now, we're out of time. The only way to pass comprehensive voting rights legislation and safeguard our freedom to vote is to end the Jim Crow filibuster."

Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn similarly decried the filibuster as a tool "long used to stymie civil rights legislation [that] must not be abused again to defend the new Jim Crow laws being passed across the country to make it harder to vote today—particularly in Black and Brown communities."

"We appreciate Sen. Manchin's continued outreach to his colleagues across the aisle," Hobert Flynn added, "but it has become abundantly clear that no amount of negotiating will get 10 Senate Republicans to support a comprehensive voting rights package by the time we need this to pass. No Senate rule should stand in the way of the freedom to vote, and senators must act with urgency to pass this bill."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also said that action is needed in the face of "Republican-led legislatures chip[ping] away at the bedrock of our democracy."

"We applaud Senate Democrats who voted for urgently needed solutions to an unprecedented attack on voting rights. But the next step is clear," she said in a statement. "The Senate must reform, if not end, the archaic filibuster, and pass federal legislation to protect voting rights. It is the only way forward—and inaction is simply not an option."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

On Eve of Key Fight, Sanders Asks: 'Will Manchin and Sinema Vote With GOP?'

"We are not going to win the elections in 2022 unless our base is energized and ordinary people understand what we are fighting for, and how we are different than the Republicans."

Jake Johnson ·


UN Chief Urges Global Solidarity on Covid, Climate, and Debt Relief

"The last two years have demonstrated a simple but brutal truth, if we leave anyone behind, in the end, we leave everyone behind," said the secretary-general at the opening of the virtual Davos summit.

Jessica Corbett ·


Sinema's MLK Day Tweet Sparks Online Fury

One group criticized the Democratic senator from Arizona as "the white moderate MLK warned us about."

Andrea Germanos ·


Why Did Democratic AG Kill Flint Water RICO Case?

"Political corruption poisoned Flint and political corruption shielded the wrongdoers from accountability," said one critic following new revelations.

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Counter Cherry-Picked Quotes With MLK's True Legacy

Calling out those who have "weaponized" his words "to justify legislated white supremacy," Rep. Ayanna Pressley said King "was a radical dreamer with a bold vision for revolutionary change."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo