More than 100 democracy scholars signed a public statement calling on Democrats to suspend the filibuster to pass voting rights protections amid a nationwide Republican assault on voting rights, The Washington Post reports.
Dozens of leading academics from universities like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Columbia signed a “statement of concern” published by New America calling for national voting and election administration standards.
“We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy who have watched the recent deterioration of U.S. elections and liberal democracy with growing alarm,” the statement says. “Specifically, we have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election. Collectively, these initiatives are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections. Hence, our entire democracy is now at risk.”
Calls to suspend filibuster:
The statement warned that Republican-led legislatures are “giving themselves the power to override electoral outcomes on unproven allegations” and cracking down on ballot access while “echoing arguments widely used across the Jim Crow South as reasons for restricting the Black vote.”
The statement called for federal action to “protect equal access of all citizens to the ballot and to guarantee free and fair elections,” backing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and additional measures.
“We urge members of Congress to do whatever is necessary—including suspending the filibuster—in order to pass national voting and election administration standards that both guarantee the vote to all Americans equally, and prevent state legislatures from manipulating the rules in order to manufacture the result they want,” they wrote. “Our democracy is fundamentally at stake. History will judge what we do at this moment.”
No action amid GOP restriction push:
The Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act, a sweeping package codifying voter protections and reforming election administration, have languished in the Senate because there is not enough Republican support to defeat a filibuster, which requires 60 votes.
Centrist Democrats like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have ruled out eliminating the filibuster.
Meanwhile, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Iowa, and other states have already passed or advanced bills that crack down on ballot access and others are expected to follow.