In his first speech from the Senate floor, Sen. Raphael Warnock called out the legislation that would impose voting restrictions in several states around the nation, particularly in his home state of Georgia. Sen. Warnock also called federal-level action to be taken against the bills.
“Make no mistake, this is democracy in reverse. Rather than voters being able to pick the politicians, the politicians are trying to cherry pick their voters. I say this cannot stand,” Warnock, Georgia’s first Black senator, said in his speech on Wednesday (March 17).
Warnock is a co-sponsor of the “For The People Act,” an election reform bill the House passed earlier in March. In his remarks, Sen. Warnock said the more than 250 “voter suppression bills” filed around the country are the result of “using the big lie of voter fraud as a pretext for voter suppression.”
He advocated for a voter rights protections act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to be passed by Congress in honor of the late congressman’s life’s work, according to a report by The Hill.
Following the November presidential election, Republican-controlled state legislative bodies began drafting bills that seek to limit absentee voting, early voting access, and other rights that bolstered record voter turnout. Defeated former president Donald Trump perpetuated false claims of widespread voter fraud, which has been attributed to sparking the January 6 Capitol riot and the new voting restriction bills.
Advocates have called the bills, likening the measures to Jim Crow-era discriminatory practices that prevented Black people from voting in America.
Warnock echoed these sentiments stating the nation is bearing witness to “a massive and unabashed assault on voting rights unlike anything we’ve ever seen since the Jim Crow era.”
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