Orlando readers speak out on voting rights, abolishing the filibuster | First Words | Orlando

¶ ‘We can’t out-organize voter suppression’

In November 2020, millions of voters like me went to the polls and cast a ballot for Joe Biden.

Now, with a relentless GOP attack on our voting rights underway, I’m asking President Biden to deliver on his promises.

It’s time for Biden to go further than talking about supporting voting rights legislation. We need him to come out and fully support ending the filibuster so the Senate can finally pass voting rights legislation like the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

With the filibuster intact, these bills have no chance of passing. Senate Republicans blocked the Freedom to Vote Act from even coming to a debate! We need the president to use his power of office to pressure the Senate to end the filibuster and clear a path for voting rights.

We can’t out-organize voter suppression. History will remember how President Biden handles these attacks on our right to vote. I’m urging him to do the right thing. —James Tashjian, Orlando

¶ ‘President Biden, we need a strategy’

In 2006, 192 House Republicans voted to renew the Voting Rights Act. But in 2021, we can’t get a single Republican senator to come out and unequivocally support protecting the freedom to vote for the American people.

Senate Republicans wouldn’t even let the Freedom to Vote Act — a bill that was designed to get them on board — go to the floor for debate! That should tell you everything you need to know about our hopes for passing voting rights legislation without abolishing the filibuster.

It’s time for President Biden to recognize this reality and use the power of his office to demand the Senate abolish the filibuster. Supporting voting rights legislation alone is simply not enough.

Please, President Biden, we need a strategy. Put the freedom to vote of the American people ahead of any reservations you have about abolishing the filibuster. The stakes are too high and we need your leadership.

—Elvia Lopez, Orlando

¶ ’50 votes should be enough’

We understand that Congress has been busy. Between massive infrastructure bills and making sure the government is funded, our senators have been handling a lot of legislation. But it’s crazy to me that massive infrastructure legislation can pass through with a simple majority vote, one that isn’t subjected to the filibuster.

If 50 votes is enough to give lifetime appointments to Supreme Court Justices, appoint cabinet officials, and pass trillions of dollars in critical infrastructure spending, then it should be enough to protect our freedom to vote. We need Congress to pass comprehensive voting rights reform and we need Biden to step up and put pressure on the Senate to do so by publicly supporting an end to the filibuster. Biden’s stated support for voting rights reform simply isn’t enough.

President Biden, for the sake of my right to vote and the progressive agenda we elected you to enact, urge the Senate to abolish the filibuster!

—Andrew Casey, St. Cloud

¶ ‘Anything less is a failure of leadership’

Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 27 of this year, at least 19 states enacted 33 laws that make it harder for Americans to vote — and more will come out of GOP-held state legislatures unless we end the filibuster and protect our voting rights.

So far, I’ve seen more talk than action in the way President Biden has handled our voting rights crisis. He’s advocated for voting rights legislation and asked Congress to take action, but he failed to do one very obvious thing needed to win this fight: support ending the filibuster.

The Jim Crow filibuster is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of passing critical legislation like the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Neither of these bills will even be debated in the Senate as long as the filibuster remains.

If Biden actually wants the Senate to pass voting rights bills, he needs to use his influence as president to get the Senate to abolish the filibuster. Anything less is a failure of leadership.
—Chuck Harris, Altamonte Springs

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