November 17, 2021

Statement on Senate Republicans Blocking Voting Rights Debate

Eighty percent of voters think the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) is still needed today(1), and we agree. While we applaud the decades of progress made toward ensuring no eligible voter encounters undue barriers to voting, there is still work to do. 

We were proud to join over 240 signatories on the Business for Voting Rights letter to Congress in support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA). This bill would simply restore protections in the VRA, preventing states from enacting any changes to their elections that have a discriminatory impact based on race, ethnicity, or language.

The last time the Senate voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006, the bill passed 98-0. Fifteen years later, only one Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voted to allow the VRAA to even move to the floor for debate. That means that sixteen Republican senators who voted to reauthorize the VRA in 2006 —  Sens. Blackburn, Blunt, Boozman, Burr, Capito, Collins, Cornyn, Crapo, Graham, Grassley, Inhofe, McConnell, Moran, Shelby, Thune, and Wicker — abandoned their prior support and blocked the VRAA from even coming to the Senate floor for debate.

The same principles that guided the 2006 vote are no less valid today. Fair, safe, and secure access to the polls remains a cornerstone of our democracy. We urge the Senate to look beyond partisan divides, restore good faith bipartisanship on voting rights, bring the VRAA to the floor for debate, and find a way to move this legislation forward.

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About Business for America
Business for America is a nonpartisan nonprofit business membership organization advancing solutions to boost civic engagement, reduce political polarization, and modernize government. A well-functioning democracy will foster a more competitive, innovative business climate in America. Businesses interested in getting involved can learn more at bfa.us.