Press Release: Mississippi Votes And One Voice Celebrate MLK Day Calling On U.S. Senate To Pass Voting Rights LegislationMississippi Votes Team
Mississippi Votes — January 17, 2022
JACKSON, Miss. – Today, Mississippi nonprofits Mississippi Votes and One Voice are calling on the U.S. Senate to pass both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore federal voting rights protections to Mississippi voters.
Today marks the 27th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday marking the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s family, along with faith leaders, civil rights leaders, labor leaders, and voting rights advocates across the country, have issued a call to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this year with action, by demanding passage of voting rights legislation and access to the ballot box.
“No state is in more need of these two pieces of legislation than Mississippi,” said Arekia Bennett, Mississippi Votes Executive Director. “While some of our neighboring states reap the benefits of policies such as online voter registration and early voting, Mississippi’s election and voting laws remain the most outdated in the nation. I urge the U.S. Senate to pass these bills even if it takes nixing the filibuster, a Jim Crow-era relic that has been heavily used to block civil rights.”
If passed, the Freedom to Vote Act would modernize Mississippi’s election and voting laws through changes that include online voter registration, same-day voter registration, and a guaranteed period of early voting. In addition, Election Day would be declared a federal holiday and measures would be put into place to prevent further partisan gerrymandering.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would respond to discriminatory voting rules enacted in Mississippi since the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County that gutted key protections in the Voting Rights Act, and restore federal oversight to prevent further laws and practices from being implemented in the future.
"The voting experience for the average Mississippian is in desperate need of transformation. We need to send the message throughout the country that protecting voting rights is a top priority, and we are willing to take the necessary steps to ensure all voices are heard. We can no longer tolerate any legislation that would impede democracy and must embrace all policies that would help move Mississippi forward," said Nsombi Lambright Haynes, One Voice Executive Director.
Already passed by the U.S. House, the Senate is expected to hold a vote on both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act on Tuesday, Jan. 18th.
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