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End the filibuster and protect voting rights

To the editor:

Trump’s big lie that the election was stolen and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that he and others fomented are certainly driving the effort to enact federal minimum voting rights standards throughout the nation.

Another factor driving it is the dozens of laws passed by Republican-dominated state legislatures to suppress the vote, including onerous identification requirements, restrictions on mail-in ballots, and maybe the worst feature: allowing partisan state legislatures to overturn the will of the majority of voters in their state. In Georgia, it is illegal to give water or food to a person in line to vote.

The Freedom to Vote Act would set minimum standards throughout the nation. Some of these provisions are as follows: early voting of at least two weeks prior to an election, mail-in ballots for every eligible voter, make election day a holiday, a national standard for voter identification, a crackdown on deceptive and intimidating practices, protections for people with disabilities, restoration of the right of formerly incarcerated citizens, banning gerrymandering, automatic voter registration which 19 states already have, campaign finance reform, restrictions on the politicized removal of election officials and require post-election audits.

Recently, this bill failed in the Senate. Every Democrat voted for it except the majority leader Chuck Schumer who voted no for procedural reasons. Every Republican opposed this commonsense reform. Because of the filibuster rule, the bill failed to get the necessary 60 votes to even bring it to the floor to debate it. Because of this archaic Senate rule, 41 Republican senators that represent 21% of the population can thwart the will of 76% of the nation.

The filibuster rule is not in the constitution nor is minority rule envisioned by the founding fathers. They specificity feared the tyranny of the minority which is what we are experiencing today. The Republicans have decided to win not with better ideas but by restricting the vote or, worse yet, by overturning elections.

For the sake of our democracy, the filibuster must go.

Gary Gill

Lewistown

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