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Durbin: When it comes to eligible voters, should we create barriers or should we make it easier for them to vote?

WASHINGTON — During a speech in the Senate, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today called on his colleagues to support important human rights legislation. vote that will be presented to the Senate this week – the bipartisan John Lewis Advancement of Suffrage Act, as good as Freedom to Vote Act. In a speech to the Senate, Durbin also discussed the continued threat to our democracy posed by Donald Trump’s “big lie.”

“We held a national election in 2020, in light of the pandemic that was threatening this nation. We opened voting opportunities and two things happened. We had the most spectacular turnout in the United States of America for the office of President – we had never seen this kind of turnout. And second, when government agencies closely examined the votes cast, they found no evidence, virtually none, of voter fraud or manipulation of the election result,” Durbin said.

Durbin continued, “It was this argument [Donald Trump’s ‘Big Lie’] it was the inspiration behind the insurgent mob that was here in the Capitol building just over a year ago, trying to stop the Electoral College vote count. They failed, as they should have. The Constitution prevailed. The will of the American people prevailed. And so, in legislatures across the country…we’re seeing Republican legislatures saying we’re unhappy with the results of the 2020 election. We want to change the voting rules in our state. And almost without exception, every change in these Republican legislatures results in limited time to vote, limited opportunity to vote, new barriers to voting, and so on. , should we create obstacles or should we make it easier for them to vote? »

During his speech, Durbin argued that if Republicans continue to filibuster suffrage legislation, Senate Democrats must be prepared to support changes to Senate rules to protect suffrage. Americans.

“So it is the issue of the franchise in America that is now coming to the floor of the United States Senate…Despite what you may have heard earlier, the use of filibuster – I should say the abuse of the filibuster – has led to the elimination, virtually, of debates and amendments on the floor… It prevents us from doing anything substantive about voting rights,” Durbin said. “The filibuster is designed for people who want to say no – no to progress, no to government, no to the Senate committed to the issues that affect the American people and families.”

Durbin concluded, “…so that Americans’ right to vote has a chance of being protected. And for senators’ voting rights to finally be engaged in this process, we must be prepared to make a change. I’m ready. As I said, I am prepared to do so on a bipartisan basis. But for God’s sake, this empty, silent chamber is no indication of what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they created this legislature. We are supposed to participate in the debate, not to be afraid of the debate. We shouldn’t run and hide behind 60 votes. I am open to change. I would like some Republicans to join us.

Video of Durbin’s speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV channels.

In November, Durbin worked with Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) to create a bipartisan compromise on the John Lewis Advancement of Suffrage Act. This proposal – which builds on the version presented earlier in October – reflects months of bipartisan negotiations and seeks to win broader support in the Senate.


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