Congressional Hispanic Caucus Members Urge the Senate to Pass Voting Rights Legislation to Protect our Democracy
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, as the Senate debates the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Leadership, Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-CA) and CHC Senators released the following statements defending the sacred right to vote and highlighting the need to reform the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.
"Right now, states across the country are introducing voter suppression laws that disproportionately hurt communities of color and undermine the voting rights of Hispanic communities," said CHC Chair Dr. Raul Ruiz (CA-36). "One of Congress' most sacred duties is to protect every Americans' right to vote, and the need to answer that call to action could not be more urgent. I urge the Senate to use every tool at its disposal to pass the Freedom to Vote Act to stand with Hispanic communities and protect the right to vote for generations to come."
“The right to vote for Latinos is under attack. Period. Anyone who thinks otherwise, is either uninterested in or doesn’t know the history of voter suppression in our communities. And they certainly aren’t in our communities right now, where in states across the country, Latino communities are seeing their political power and their right to vote crippled right as these very communities are becoming a political force. This is not a coincidence. If the other side is not interested in protecting the fundamental right to vote for ALL Americans, then Democrats in the Senate must get this done on their own,” expressed CHC 1st Vice-Chair, Rep. Nanette Barragán (CA-44).
“Republicans across the country have continued to push lies and conspiracy theories to depress voter turnout and sow mistrust in our elections at the highest levels. And because of it, we are witnessing a wave of voter suppression efforts billow across our nation – a crisis of monstrous proportions that is buckling the foundation of our democratic process,” said CHC 2nd Vice-Chair, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “We cannot allow arcane Senate rules to stand in the way of this Congress upholding its most basic constitutional responsibilities – at one of the most critical junctures in the history of this country. It is time for us to choose: the filibuster, or our democracy, and it is incumbent on us to restore the voting rights protections that our nation’s civil rights leaders bled to secure.”
“Protecting our most basic freedoms should be a bipartisan effort. Though it is alarming to see Republicans oppose legislation to strengthen voting rights and end gerrymandering, we will not stop fighting to ensure that the right to vote is preserved and protected in Florida and across the United States. Through the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, we will put an end to the campaign of voter suppression and election subversion,” shared CHC Whip, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09).
“Republican Senators represent Latinos in their states who deserve to have the same access to the ballot as every other American,” said Rep. Leger Fernández. “I am especially disappointed by every Senator who refuses to stand for our Constitution and vote for the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act,” said CHC Freshman Representative, Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-3).
“The right to vote is sacred in this country,” expressed Rep. Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. “No tradition, no set of rules governing debate on the floor of the United States Senate, are more important than the rights of communities of color to access the ballot box. We feel it is our responsibility to speak up because of our commitment to American democracy and the values that make this country so great. The Senate must pass much needed voting rights reforms without delay.”
“Our dear friend, someone who I had the privilege of serving with in the House of Representatives, the late John Lewis took a beating on a bridge in Selma for the right to vote. Surely, we in the Senate can muster a shred of his courage to protect that right,” said Sen. Robert “Bob” Menendez (D-NJ) in his remarks. “There are no other rights without the right to vote. It is through the right to vote that freedom rings, that justice reigns and opportunity arises.”
“Voting rights are the foundation of this entire democratic enterprise, this great American experiment. It’s time every Senator looks into their soul and decides how they want to be remembered when future generations remember this perilous moment in our history,” added Sen. Menendez.
“Protecting voting rights and stopping billionaires from trying to buy our elections with dark money should not be partisan issues,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Yet Mitch McConnell continues to block every effort to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The majority of Americans support these critical protections, and I continue to support efforts to reform the filibuster so these bills can pass with a majority vote in the Senate.”
“History should act as a teacher to all of us, and history will remind us who voted today on the side of the people. I am proud this effort includes my Native American Voting Rights Act, which will ensure Tribes, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and voters living on Tribal lands have equal access to the electoral process,” said Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM).
“The clock is turning back on voting rights and too many people are ignoring or denying the alarm bells. Republican-led state legislatures across the country are passing legislation that will disproportionately disenfranchise the votes and the voices of people of color. The Senate rules exist to help the Senate serve American democracy. When those rules endanger our democracy, the answer is simple—we change them. We must rise to this generational moment of challenge, to change the filibuster rule to protect voting rights for every American,” shared Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA).
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.