Members of People For’s Young Elected Officials (YEO) network were some of the more than 100 state legislators who came to Washington, D.C. from across the country to participate in a #RecessCanWait week of action (8/2-8/6) calling on the Senate to stay in session until they pass the For the People Act and protect voting rights. The For the People Act (S.1), or similar federal legislation, is needed to undo and prevent the hundreds of voter suppression measures being introduced in states across the country from going into full effect before the midterm elections.
The state legislators joined the Texas state delegation of Democratic lawmakers who have been in town for weeks to deny their Republican counterparts the quorum they need to pass a draconian set of voter suppression measures that would disproportionately impact people of color and other marginalized communities. In addition to meeting with federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill, state legislators participating in the #RecessCanWait week of action have been attending rallies, media engagements and other events organized by People For and our allies in the Declaration For American Democracy coalition.
As a flagship event in the week of action, on Tuesday August 3rd, the state legislators joined a rally on Capitol Hill along with a number of Senate champions of voting rights including Senator Warnock, Senator Booker, Senator Merkley, Senator Klobuchar and others.
Our Senator from Georgia — @SenatorWarnock! We’re standing in solidarity with Texas Democratic lawmakers & other folks across the country in our fight for free & fair elections. We need federal protection for our voting rights now! #recesscanwait pic.twitter.com/5Ko7ZFNHiH
— Bee Nguyen 🐝 (@BeeForGeorgia) August 3, 2021
— Eric Lee (@erjlee) August 3, 2021
— Declaration for American Democracy (@DFADCoalition) August 3, 2021
Georgia state representative Bee Nguyen, who is also running for secretary of state in Georgia, was one of several YEOs to speak at the event. With Georgia having become a primary national focal point in the fight for voting rights, elevating voices such as Rep. Nguyen’s from the state is a critical piece in making the case to the Senate that federal action is necessary.
Also speaking at the rally on Capitol Hill was state representative and YEO member Jordan Harris from Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, which was itself a hotly contested and decisive state in the 2020 election, has also seen a raft of voter suppression measures introduced in the Republican controlled state House of Representatives.
Let’s be clear – voter suppression ain’t about suppressing everybody’s right to vote, it’s about suppressing some of our right to vote. And the some of those folks they’re trying to suppress are folks that look like me. #RecessCanWait #ForThePeopleAct pic.twitter.com/uesP3YluTh
— Jordan A. Harris (@RepHarris) August 3, 2021
#RecessCanWait. Democracy can’t.
Glad to join coalition partners and incredible state leaders of the @YEOnetwork today to demand we #EndTheFilibuster and pass the #ForThePeopleAct and #JohnLewisVotingRightsAct! We won’t stop until victory is won! pic.twitter.com/NW3omCUzSX
— Markus Batchelor (@MarkusforDC) August 3, 2021
In addition to our efforts through the #RecessCanWait campaign, and our YEOs in Washington this week also participated in complementary actions to bring home the urgent need for federal voting rights legislation. Members of the YEO network, including Tennessee State Representative London Lamar and Wisconsin State Representative David Bowen, participated in an all-night vigil on the steps of the United States Senate where they engaged several Senators on the importance of bold action to beat back attacks to voting rights in their states. They also joined the Freedom Friday March from the MLK Memorial to Reagan Washington National Airport, where several members of the group disrupted airport operations to demand that Senators not leave Washington for recess until their work is done.
PULL UP RIGHT NOW! We’re ready to be out #AllNightforVotingRights.
I’m with bold young leaders, including state representatives from across the country staying on the steps of the Capitol until there’s a path forward to #EndTheFilibuster and pass the #ForThePeopleAct. pic.twitter.com/sQ4i94xRnt
— Markus Batchelor (@MarkusforDC) August 5, 2021
— Markus Batchelor (@MarkusforDC) August 6, 2021
“It’s time to escalate.”
March in tunnel to DCA Airport pic.twitter.com/TY3r9HyWJj
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) August 6, 2021
— untilfreedom (@untilfreedom) August 6, 2021
We are shutting down traffic at Reagan National Airport. The threat to our democracy is an emergency. We must not let the Senate go on recess or leave the Capitol until they end the filibuster and pass the The For The People Act to protect voting rights and save our democracy. pic.twitter.com/hZTEnPg4XE
— Kai Newkirk #EndTheFilibuster (@kai_newkirk) August 6, 2021
People For is working across the board to keep building support to do whatever it takes to pass the critical voting rights legislation that we need, including reforming or eliminating the filibuster in order to do so. Throughout the month of August and continuing into the Fall, we will continue to mobilize our membership and leadership networks to ensure that the existential threats facing our democracy do not go unaddressed.