More than 150 political science professors and academics have issued a statement urging Congress to bypass filibuster and pass voting rights legislation in response to Republican attempts to restrict voter access and overturn the results elections they don’t like.
“This is not an ordinary moment in the course of our democracy,” the signatories warned in a statement released on Sunday. “This is a time of great peril and risk.”
Academics called on Congress to pass the Free Voting Act, a Senate bill that would strengthen voter protection amid a conservative and undemocratic attack. Republican senators even blocked the Senate from debating the bill last month. More than a dozen Republican-led state legislatures have introduced or passed measures to restrict voter access or investigate unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in response to the loss of former President Donald Trump against President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
“The partisan politicization of what has long been a trustworthy, non-partisan election administration poses a clear and current threat to the future of electoral democracy in the United States,” the academics wrote.
Academics warned that Republican attacks on democracy would likely result in a prolonged period of minority rule, “which a majority of the country would dismiss as undemocratic and illegitimate.”
“It would have serious consequences not only for our democracy, but also for the political order, economic prosperity and national security of the United States,” they wrote.
White Americans, who make up a majority of the Republican base, have seen their population decline relative to the total population over the past 10 years, according to census data. It was the first time in history. At the same time, several non-white ethnic groups who tend to vote Democrats have seen their populations increase. But many Republican-led legislatures, including those in Texas and Georgia, have used non-white-driven population growth in their states to consolidate conservative-leaning, predominantly white districts.
In their statement, the signatories cited the Lodge Bill, a voting rights bill killed by a filibuster in 1890, as an example of what could happen if Congress refused to defend the right to vote now.
“The result of this critical vote was that the southern states, in the absence of any federal oversight, were allowed to continue the total deprivation of the rights of African Americans for the next 75 years,” they wrote.
“Democracy advocates in America still have a slim window of opportunity to act,” they added. “But time is passing and midnight is approaching.”
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