Kyrsten Sinema meets Arizona students on hunger strike for the right to vote


A group of students participating in a hunger strike to demand congressional action on voting rights met with Democratic U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who opposed reform of obstruction rules that have stalled progress of legislation.

Now entering a sixth day of hunger strike, the group of 20 students from Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and other colleges in the state urged the Arizona senator to support federal voting rights legislation as well as an exclusion from systematic obstruction rules to prevent Republican obstruction.

Senate Republicans have invoked filibuster four times to prevent voting rights legislation from being voted on, and this year marked the first time that the landmark 1965 voting rights law was not passed. renewed with majority bipartite support.

Democrats need the support of at least 10 Republicans to reach a 60-vote threshold to break the filibuster in the equally divided Senate; a growing number of lawmakers and activists have urged Democratic senators to scrap filibuster rules to pass legislation with simple majority voting.

Members of AZ Youth Hunger Strike for Democracy spoke with Senator Sinema on December 9, the fourth day of their indefinite hunger strike, as they prepared to travel to Washington DC.

“Senator Sinema agreed with us that our voting rights are under attack by lawmakers in the states of Arizona and across the country, and confidence in our election is at an all-time low,” forward Georgia said. Linden. said in a press release.

“She thanked us for our efforts, expressed a desire to stay in the conversation and reiterated her support for the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Advancement of Voting Rights Act,” said Ms. Linden.

The group hopes that Senator Sinema “will do whatever it takes” when the time comes to pass the bills, she added.

The group has not received a response from Joe Biden’s administration regarding requests to meet “to discuss the moral urgency of the moment,” according to the group’s statement.

“We hope that by coming to Washington with an empty stomach but a heart full of determination, the President will agree to meet with us and, more importantly, to act with the urgency that this time demands,” said Linden.

Republican lawmakers in at least 19 states have enacted at least 33 restrictive voting laws this year, according to an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice.

States are also in the midst of a decade-long process of redrawing their political boundaries for the first time in decades without significant federal oversight to prevent racial discrimination at the ballot box.

Senators Sinema and Joe Manchin – both Democrats – have opposed filibuster reform efforts, jeopardizing legislation they both co-sponsored.

Senate Republicans have rejected the move on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which seeks to revive and strengthen measures against racially discriminatory election laws after two U.S. Supreme Court rulings undermined key elements of historic civil rights law.

They also reduced the chances of voting on the For The People Act (twice) as well as a light version of “compromise”, the Freedom to Vote Act, which provides national standards for advance and postal voting and makes Election Day a national holiday, among other measures.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he plans to reintroduce John Lewis’s Advancement of Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.


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