Senator Dick Durbin Joins Black Pastors To Fight Voter Suppression
New law shaving early voting in half would disfranchise black community, activists say
Despite record-low voter approval ratings, not all members of Congress are deaf to the concerns of their constituents.
Some are paying attention to the recent spur of voter suppression tactics being pushed by the right to disfranchise their bases.
On Monday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) will stand with several black church pastors in Ohio to oppose state legislation to limit early voting and eliminate voting on the last Sunday before Election Day.
Durbin, along with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and the pastors, will hold a field hearing at the Carl B. Stokes United States Court House in Cleveland at 9:30 a.m. ET.
“For more than half of the life of our Republic, a majority of Americans were not allowed to vote,” Durbin said in a statement announcing the hearing. “Worryingly, a spate of recently passed state voting laws seem designed to restrict voting by making it harder for millions of disabled, young, minority, rural, elderly, homeless, and low income Americans to vote.”
“Protecting the right of every citizen to vote and ensuring that our elections are fair and transparent are not Democratic or Republican values, they are American values.”
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, Durbin has been examining the effect voter ID and other suppressive tactics have on minorities and seniors. Proponents of these laws have reasoned that they cut down on state election costs and prevent voter fraud.
Most allegations of fraud around the country have not proven to be pressing enough to warrant the legislation.
Ohio’s new law, HB 194, reduces the number of early voting days from 35 to 17, eliminates voting on the weekend before an election, removes the requirement that poll workers direct voters to their proper precinct and prohibits county boards of elections from mailing unsolicited absentee ballots, according to Durbin’s statement.