Washington, D.C. – Following Wednesday’s Senate Rules Committee hearing on S.1, the For the People Act, when Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) objected to the bill’s prohibition of harsh voter suppression measures — such as Georgia’s proposed ban on Sunday voting — People For the American Way President Ben Jealous and Rev. Dr. Wayne Williams of Lynch Street CME Church of Jackson, Miss., released the following statements:
“I was astonished to hear one of our U.S. Senators from Mississippi, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, suggest today that Sunday voting is somehow contrary to observing the Sabbath. Sen. Hyde-Smith knows full well that ‘souls to the polls’ efforts after Sunday services are a tradition in Black churches, and are a very important way that we engage the community to participate in our democracy. The senator used this argument today to argue against a voting rights bill, S.1, which comes as the state of Georgia is trying to eliminate Sunday voting in a transparent attempt to suppress the Black vote. Shame on Sen. Hyde-Smith for this really disgraceful attempt to discredit Black churches and our civic engagement work. She should apologize for her remarks,” said Rev. Williams.
“Sen. Hyde-Smith’s comments disparaging Sunday voting, which she knows is customary for Black congregations, are offensive and she should retract them. I know and love Mississippi, having spent several years there as a reporter and editor for the Jackson Advocate. The role that Black churches play in the state, including their role in encouraging civic engagement, is deeply inspiring. As a Mississippian, Sen. Hyde-Smith would know exactly who she is targeting when she criticizes Sunday voting: her Black constituents. Those voters no doubt heard her, and will remember her words,” said Ben Jealous.
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org.