WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate has failed for a fifth time since June to start debate on critical pro-democracy, anti-gerrymandering legislation. The Freedom to Vote Act got 50 votes, but failed to reach the 60-vote threshold Senate rules require to break a filibuster.

RepresentUs CEO Josh Silver issued the following statement in response:

“While a slim majority of the U.S. Senate just voted to save American democracy, obstructionist senators used the filibuster to keep our elections broken and rigged. They chose their political party’s interests over America’s interests, refusing to even discuss something as foundational as our democracy. Today’s vote on the Freedom to Vote Act is the latest example of the debilitating gridlock and dysfunction that Americans of all political stripes are sick of. 

“The Freedom to Vote Act is how we fix the root causes of political extremism, corruption and gridlock. A majority of Americans support it, and if we had a functioning government, it would pass immediately. It would ban partisan gerrymandering, protect early and absentee voting options, get dark money out of politics, make Election Day a national holiday, and much more. It’s common sense stuff.

“This is now the fifth time voting rights legislation has been blocked by a filibuster since June. And overall, use of the filibuster has increased exponentially in recent years. Clearly, it’s way too easy for one senator to gum up the works and block popular legislation. They don’t need to hold the floor, and they don’t need to argue their case. All they have to do is send a text. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.

“The bottom line is that Senate rules -- and all government rules -- should foster productive debate and action. In a democracy, voters elect representatives to enact their will through legislation, but the current U.S. Senate filibuster has ground that process to a complete halt. We need to pass the Freedom to Vote Act by any means necessary. To do so, we need to restore the Senate so that it can live up to its old moniker: the world’s greatest deliberative body.”