WASHINGTON -- Approximately a couple hundred democracy leaders, including Yolanda King -- Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter and youth activist -- protested at the White House Wednesday to demand President Joe Biden push the Freedom to Vote Act through Congress. Dozens, including RepresentUs CEO and Co-founder Josh Silver, were arrested.

"Fixing American democracy is not a liberal issue, not a conservative issue, not a Democratic issue, not a Republican issue. Fixing American democracy is an American issue,” Silver said at the protest, right before he was arrested.

The “No More Excuses: Voting Rights Now” protest comes just two weeks after obstructionists in the U.S. Senate blocked the Freedom to Vote Act with a filibuster, and the same day that they are poised to do the same to the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA). The Freedom to Vote Act would ban partisan gerrymandering and dark money, make it easier to vote by setting baseline standards for early and absentee voting nationwide, and secure our elections from foreign interference. The John Lewis VRAA would restore critical provisions in the 1965 Voting Rights Act that have been gutted by recent Supreme Court decisions, most recently Brnovich v. DNC.

“President Biden promised to restore the soul of America, and made restoring our democracy and passing voting rights a top priority. But so far, he hasn’t done enough to ensure the Freedom to Vote Act -- our best chance to save democracy -- passes,” said Silver. “It’s time to turn up the heat. I’m proud to join Yolanda King and other inspiring youth activists to make it clear to the president that we need to pass this bill by any means necessary. No more excuses.”

Both the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis VRAA have the support of a majority of senators, but neither have the 60 votes necessary to break the Senate filibuster. Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently came out in support of the John Lewis VRAA, making her the only Republican to support either bill. The Voting Rights Act has historically been overwhelmingly bipartisan, including a unanimous 98-0 vote in 2006 that included ten Republicans who are still in their seats.

Graph of bipartisan voting rights bills since 1965

“The filibuster in its current form is poisoning our democracy. It’s way too easy for one person to block legislation that the majority of the country supports,” finished Silver. “There are many ways we could fix the filibuster to restore the Senate, and it’s time for the president and senators to choose saving democracy over an arcane rule.”

Ross Sherman, RepresentUs PR Strategist, 207-749-2660, rsherman@represent.us