The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act is a once-in-a-generation piece of legislation that would:
- Protect voting rights in all 50 states
- Give every voter equal access to the ballot box
- Draw fair congressional districts by ending gerrymandering
- Fight big money in politics
- Ensure politicians work for voters, not special interests
This is a historic bill! It would be the most significant law for American democracy since the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
How can I help?
The three most important actions you can take are:
- Call your Senators & the White House, urging them to get the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act passed.
- Attend ongoing events and demonstrations happening across the country.
- Encourage as many others as possible to do the same. We need mass mobilization to get this done.
Why the urgency?
Every 10 years, states redraw federal and state congressional district lines, based on the decennial census data. In many states, the party in power draws them. Parties take advantage of this by creating districts to favor their own re-election — this technically legal but corrupt process is called gerrymandering.
The Freedom to Vote John Lewis Act will put an end to gerrymandering by taking partisan politics out of the redistricting process, ensuring voting maps are drawn fairly.
The federal government will release census results to states on August 16 and state politicians will move very quickly, using that data to begin drawing districts. If the Freedom to Vote John Lewis Act is not enacted in time, many states will gerrymander, and the result will be uncompetitive districts for the next decade.
If the Freedom to Vote John Lewis Act is in place, we can end gerrymandering, and voters will be able to choose their representatives, instead of politicians choosing their voters.
It is crucial for protecting American democracy.
Update: The Census Bureau has released results early, on August 12. It’s more important than ever to call your senators every day!
What’s the hold-up?
The Freedom to Vote John Lewis Act, the most important fair elections bill in generations, is incredibly popular, but can’t get through the Senate as long as the filibuster stands in the way.
The filibuster was a historical accident and relic from the Jim Crow era that’s been used for decades to derail landmark civil rights legislation such as this bill. It was denounced by figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. over 50 years ago (for this very same issue!), and is the primary reason for the Senate being one of the most dysfunctional institutions in the world.
In short, it causes the need for a supermajority of 60 votes — rather than a simple majority of 51 as used in the House and specified in the Constitution — to get bills passed. This means that just 41 Senators, representing as little as 17 percent of the U.S. population, can block any bill from becoming law.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no debate required at all to use the modern filibuster. All it takes is a single email or text message to indefinitely veto any legislation. In fact, it was already used to prevent debate (yes, just the debate) of the Freedom to Vote John Lewis Act from even occurring.
It is not a law — just a Senate procedural rule, which could change today with (oddly enough) only a simple majority vote so that it doesn’t block the Freedom to Vote John Lewis Act.
The choice is clear:
Protect our democracy or protect the filibuster.Call Your Senators