The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jackie Howell,

Leadership Conference On Civil And Human Rights And 53 Other Groups, Including Democracy 21, Urge Congress To Remain Focused On The Fight For Voting Rights

Reforms to the Electoral Count Act (ECA) are “needed and welcome, but they simply are not adequate to meet the current moment.”


As Congress considers the next steps in the fight to move voting rights forward, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 230 national organizations, and 53 individual groups, including Democracy 21, today urged Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the Members of Congress who supported voting rights legislation "to remain extremely focused in the weeks ahead on the core issue of racial discrimination in voting."

In a letter sent today, the groups thanked Majority Leader Schumer for his leadership on the issue. The debate and vote on the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act "mark progress on our journey towards becoming a truly inclusive, multiracial democracy. Yet we have far to go, and we must fight on," the groups wrote in the letter.

"Voters of color are facing the greatest threat to voting rights since Jim Crow, and this threat is targeted," the groups wrote. "As civil rights and community leaders have said many times, we cannot out-organize or litigate past attacks on our freedom to vote. Therefore, we must have a legislative solution, and that solution must address racial discrimination head on."

Conversations "regarding reforms to the Electoral Count Act (ECA) are needed and welcome," the groups wrote, "but they simply are not adequate to meet the current moment. We should certainly make sure that votes duly cast are reflected in the ultimate presidential count. But we also must address the discriminatory barriers to the ballot that prevent votes from even being cast, or we will retreat and retrench from our aspirations as a multiracial democracy -- just as we did after Reconstruction."

According to Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer, "The ECA by itself has no impact on House and Senate races. The ECA does nothing to overturn the numerous state voter suppression and election sabotage laws enacted in 2021, with more coming in 2022. The ECA is in need of repair, but fundamental voting rights must be part of that repair if we are to truly protect our nation's elections and our democracy."

The letter urged Majority Leader Schumer to ensure "that any revised legislation also includes components of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act that are necessary to address the problems faced by eligible voters in their attempts to cast votes and have those votes counted. Further, while seeking narrow reforms that can garner 60 votes is useful, we must continue the conversation -- in the Senate and across the country -- about the imperative to no longer allow an arcane rule with a racist history to block urgently needed protections for the freedom to vote."

Read the full letter online or below.

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.

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