Ahead Of Motion To Proceed On John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Durbin Urges Senate To Preserve Right To Vote

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, took to the Senate floor today, on the one-year anniversary of the 2020 election, to urge his Senate colleagues to support the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect every American’s right to vote and allow the Senate to debate this critical legislation. During his speech, Durbin called out states’ rampant attempts to suppress the vote while peddling former President Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen despite the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s conclusion that it was the most secure election in American history.

“One year ago today, Americans braved a lethal pandemic to cast their ballots. Many stood in line – some for hours. The 2020 general election saw the highest voter-turnout in more than a century…And, as I said, it was our most secure election ever… Sadly, however, instead of telling people the truth and defending our elections, lawmakers in many states are using the Big Lie… as a pretext to undermine Americans’ right to vote,” Durbin said. “Since the January 6th assault on the Capitol, more than 425 bills have been introduced in 49 states to make it harder to vote, and in some cases, easier for some politicians to overturn elections if they don’t like voters’ choices.”

Durbin went on to commend the bipartisan work done to craft a compromise bill with bipartisan support. The compromise bill was crafted to build support of Senators of both parties, and it stays true to the same bipartisan blueprint followed by Congress in each of the five times it has previously enacted legislation to update and reauthorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“I want to commend my friend, Senator Murkowski, the senior Senator from Alaska, for remaining true to the values of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, even in this hyper-partisan age. Later today, the Senate will vote on whether to begin debate on a compromise version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This compromise is the result of months of good-faith negotiation involving Senator Leahy, the lead Democratic sponsor, my office, as well as Senator Manchin, Senator Murkowski, and others,” said Durbin. “It will restore the original intention and protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, before misguided rulings by the Supreme Court gutted that magnificent law and rendered many of its most critical protections vulnerable.”

Durbin also urged his colleagues to support the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore and expand voting rights and prevent voter suppression.

“When a narrow conservative majority on the Supreme Court struck down the Voting Rights Act’s enforcement provisions eight years ago, it concluded that Congress could come up with a new enforcement formula for our times. Well, we did. This is it.  The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act contains that new formula.  It is fair, and it is bipartisan,” said Durbin.

“For all of those, the thousands, who have risked their lives to defend this country, they were defending not just a piece of geography. They were defending our rights as Americans, and they were prepared to die for it. Whether on a foreign battlefield or on a bridge in Selma, Alabama, I urge my Republican colleagues:  Let this Senate debate voting rights.  Vote yes for cloture,” Durbin concluded.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.