US senators dealt a fatal blow on Wednesday to the electoral reform project promoted by President Joe Biden to defend the right to vote for minorities.
The senators refused to initiate the only procedure that could have allowed the Democrats to put this project to a vote without the votes of the Republicans, who strongly oppose this text.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Senate has not defended our democracy. I am disappointed, but not deterred,” Biden said on Twitter, after a House vote.
“We will continue to advance the necessary legislation and push for changes to Senate procedures that will protect the fundamental right to vote,” he added.
Democrats and suffrage rights activists defended the bill as a necessary response to Republican efforts to restrict the vote, especially among blacks and Latinos.
“I know this is not 1965. That’s what makes me so angry. It is 2022 and they are blatantly removing more polling places from counties where blacks and Latinos are overrepresented,” New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker claimed in the Senate. “I’m not making it up. It is a fact,” he remarked.
Conservative-governed states have spent the past year taking advantage of former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election to introduce a series of regulations that complicate the exercise of the vote.
The project promoted by Biden would have guaranteed the right to vote by mail, the polls and at least two weeks of early voting, in addition to making Election Day a national holiday.
It also seeks to prevent the practice of redistricting in favor of the ruling party and would have required states with a history of discrimination to obtain federal authorization before changing election law.
But all 50 Republican senators voted against the reforms, arguing that restrictions like limiting mail-in voting and insisting on voter ID were simply common sense.