Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

For Immediate Release


Diane Alexander is the Communications and Research Director:

Press Release

Senate Expected To Consider Voting Rights Legislation Soon

Updated D21 Report Shows The Evolution Of Senate Filibuster, How Filibuster Rules Changes Have Been Routine, & The Urgent Need To Modify The Rules To Allow Voting Rights To Pass

“For the Senate to preserve our democracy and protect the right to vote, and to be known again as the ‘world’s greatest deliberative body,’ the Senate filibuster rules must be revised,” Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer writes in the introduction to a new update to the Democracy 21 report: A Timeline Of The Senate Filibuster -- And Why The Filibuster Rules Must Be Revised To Save Democracy And Restore The Senate.
Attacks “on the right to vote and the integrity of our elections have put our democracy at grave risk,” Wertheimer writes. “The need to revise the filibuster rules is of paramount importance.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the Senate will consider changes to Senate rules as early as this week.
The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act are essential voting rights measures that were blocked by multiple Republican filibusters in 2021.
These measures would override the state voter suppression laws triggered by Trump’s Big Lie, protect against partisan election administration officials rigging federal election results, and prevent future voter discrimination laws in selected states and local jurisdictions.
“The moment of truth is here,” Wertheimer says. “At stake is whether our democracy as we know it will be preserved.”
The Democracy 21 report details the history of the Senate filibuster: 

  • Its creation in 1806 – a “housekeeping” mistake by Vice President Aaron Burr;
  • Its prolific use to block civil rights legislation – from anti-lynching and anti-poll tax measures in the 19th and 20th centuries to voting rights legislation today;
  • Its weaponization for partisan purposes by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY);
  • How the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), the acknowledged master of the Senate rules, opposed eliminating the filibuster entirely, but believed that the filibuster rules should be changed when “circumstances change” and played a key role in revising the Senate filibuster rules three times in the 1970s; and
  • How the filibuster rules have been modified more than 160 times since 1969, including in December 2021 to allow an increase to the debt ceiling to pass by majority vote.

 The Democracy 21 Timeline Of The Senate Filibuster is online here.


Democracy 21 is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to making democracy work for all Americans. Democracy 21, and its education arm, Democracy 21 Education Fund, work to eliminate the undue influence of big money in American politics, prevent government corruption, empower citizens in the political process and ensure the integrity and fairness of government decisions and elections. The organization promotes campaign finance reform and other related political reforms to accomplish these goals.

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·

NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo