Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten on Senate Republicans’ Blow to Voting Rights

For Release: 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Contact:

Sarah Hager Mosby
202-393-5684
shager@aft.org

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement in response to Senate Republicans’ vote to once again block even having a debate on the Freedom to Vote Act, a bill that would set minimum standards for voting access in all states, including automatic and same-day voter registration, two weeks of early voting and the establishment of Election Day as a public holiday. It also seeks to protect nonpartisan election officials from undue interference:

“Protecting our democracy is patriotic, not partisan. But today Senate Republicans chose to stand against our democracy and embolden the forces working to limit voting rights, interfere with vote counting and even manipulate the outcome of elections. Their inaction sends the message that it’s OK to pick and choose who can vote and whose votes can be counted.

“But in a true democracy, we get to pick the people who represent us—they don’t get to pick the voters. Our responsibility as citizens is not just to vote but to stand up for the very representative systems on which our republic was founded. That means ensuring everyone who is eligible can vote and every vote is counted. The procedures of a democratic institution should help preserve, not undermine, the principles of our democracy. 

“Now, Senate Democrats and the Biden administration must do whatever it takes to pass this bill. The freedom to vote is too important for politics and loopholes to stand in the way. History is watching.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.