Today, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked debate on legislation to protect voting rights and save our democracy:
“Our democracy is in crisis. From the armed, white supremacist-led insurrection at the Capitol, to Donald Trump’s baseless attempts to overturn last year’s presidential election, to the racist voter suppression laws being enacted in states across the nation, it becomes clearer every day that the crisis we face is existential.
“Democrats understand this moment and are united in our commitment to protecting our democracy. That is why we passed the For the People Act in the House and why every Senate Democrat voted to begin debate on this legislation today.
“Republicans, on the other hand, no longer believe in government for the people, by the people. They’ve wholeheartedly embraced authoritarianism. It comes as no surprise that they have once again moved in lockstep to block the Senate from even debating the For the People Act.
“Despite Democrats’ repeated efforts to seek a deal, and the fact that more than two-thirds of Americans support this legislation, Republicans in Washington have refused to engage in good faith. If our negotiating partners won’t even come to the table, there is no reason to compromise. We must instead do right by the American people. In this moment, the only path forward is to abolish the filibuster and pass the For the People Act with a simple majority in the Senate.
“My friend Chuck Schumer has said all along that when it comes to protecting voting rights, failure is not an option, and I couldn’t agree more. Today’s vote makes clear that the only way to avoid failure and protect the fundamental rights of all Americans is to abolish the filibuster.”
Today, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY), along with Representatives John Sarbanes (D-MD), Nikema Williams (D-GA), Colin Allred (D-TX), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the Preventing Election Subversion Act of 2021, legislation to promote free and fair elections and actively combat the attempts by Republican-run states to subvert elections.
Currently, in states like Georgia, Republicans have been removing non-partisan local election officials, whose responsibilities include selecting precinct locations, establishing voting hours, and certifying elections, posing a threat to the integrity of our elections. The Preventing Election Subversion Act of 2021 will institute new federal safeguards that will help keep the foundations of our democracy strong by insulating state election administration from partisan pressure.
“This year, the right to vote has been under the worst assault since Jim Crow,” said Congressman Mondaire Jones. “Republicans in state houses across the country have gone to outrageous lengths to silence Black and brown voters, introducing over 400 racist voter suppression bills and removing non-partisan election officials who oversee and certify elections. Our bill would protect the independence of local election officials and ensure that future elections are free and fair.”
Specifically, the Preventing Election Subversion Act of 2021 would:
- Limit arbitrary and unfounded removals of local election officials by requiring a “for cause” standard to be met before suspension and provide a federal cause of action to enforce this standard;
- Allow a local election official who has responsibility for federal elections and who has been subjected to removal proceedings by a state board of elections to remove that proceeding to federal district court for redress;
- Make it a federal crime for any person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, to intimidate, threaten, coerce, harass, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or harass an election worker;
- Establish a minimum buffer zone to limit how close a poll observer may come within a voter or ballot at a polling location during an early voting period or on Election Day; and
- Require challenges to a voter’s eligibility to register to vote or to cast a ballot, other than from an election official, to be supported by personal knowledge with respect to each individual challenged.