January 11, 2022

New Dem Members Join President Biden in Georgia and Meet with Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Call for Senate Action on Critical Voting Rights Legislation

In Atlanta, New Dem Members Reps. Sewell, Blunt Rochester, Bordeaux, McBath, and Williams Join President Biden for his Landmark Voting Rights Speech

New Democrat Coalition Hosts Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Discuss Importance of Passing Federal Legislation to Protect All Americans’ Access to the Ballot Box

As the Senate turns its focus towards voting rights this week, New Democrat Coalition members called for the Senate to act on legislation to  preserve Americans’ sacred and fundamental right to vote and strengthen our democracy. Today in Atlanta, Georgia, New Dem Members Reps. Terri Sewell (AL-07), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Carolyn Bordeaux (GA-07), Lucy McBath (GA-06), and Nikema Williams (GA-05) are standing with President Biden as he delivers a historic voting rights speech. The Coalition also hosted a meeting today with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the importance of advancing voting rights legislation to the President’s desk.

In 2021, New Dems endorsed and voted to advance to the Senate both H.R. 1, the For The People Act and H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which was authored by New Dem Rep. Sewell. These bills, along with the Senate’s version of H.R. 1, the Freedom to Vote Act, are essential to upholding our free and fair elections and safeguarding access to the ballot box for all Americans. Preserving our democracy and restoring voting rights are top priorities for New Dems, and we will continue fighting to get this key legislation across the finish line in the New Year.

“Our democracy is built on the sacred and fundamental right to vote,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01). “But this right is currently under attack as Republican state legislatures across the country continue to pass partisan laws to make it harder for all Americans to vote. For decades, safeguarding the right to vote has been a bipartisan issue. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been reauthorized in Congress five times with bipartisan support. While this time should be no different, Republicans today are continuing to stand in the way of H.R. 4, which would restore and update this important law. New Dems are committed to getting legislation that secures the right to vote for all Americans to the President’s desk without delay. Our members passed voting rights legislation out of the House, now it’s time for the Senate to act. There is no more time to waste. The future of our democracy depends on our ability to uphold our nation’s free and fair elections.”

"We are in the midst of a fight for the survival of Democracy in the United States, and it is essential that we meet this existential threat with a truly effective response: by passing both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” said Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. We cannot, and we must not, content ourselves with preserving a few bricks while the house of American democracy collapses around us. Instead, we must commit ourselves to passing comprehensive legislation that strengthens and protects our most basic freedom – our right to vote in free and fair elections." 

“As state legislatures across this nation erect deliberate barriers to the ballot box at an unprecedented pace, we must act now to protect the sacred right to vote for generations to come,” said Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07). “I thank Chair DelBene and my colleagues of the New Democrat Coalition for their steadfast commitment to H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. It’s time for our Senate colleagues to act with the urgency this moment demands and use every tool at their disposal to pass this critical bill.”

“The right to vote is sacred, and we must do all we can to protect it,” said Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32). “Americans across the country, including my home state of Texas, have seen their right to vote attacked by Republican-led legislatures – all to try to prop up lies that the 2020 election was stolen. As a former voting rights attorney, I’ve seen firsthand how these tactics can disenfranchise ordinary people. I join my colleagues in the New Democrat Coalition in urging the Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act to stop election subversion, end partisan gerrymandering and protect the right to vote.”

“When I was sworn into Congress, I carried with me a scarf bearing the document that gave my great-great-great-grandfather, who was formerly enslaved, the right to vote. That his descendant now serves as a Member of Congress is testament to the progress we can make when we empower American citizens with the right to vote,” said Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL). “That’s why I’m so pleased by the efforts of the New Dem Coalition and former Attorney General Eric Holder to throw open the doors of democracy to every single American citizen – regardless of socioeconomic status, zip code, or political affiliation. The question of voting rights is not an issue of policy – it is the issue of our democracy.” 

“I was the child in the stroller at the March on Washington. My father was the President of the NAACP chapter in Illinois, and from the time that I could walk, I was marching with my family—fighting to ensure that every American’s voice is heard and their vote is counted,” said Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06). “In Georgia, throughout the southeast, and truly all across America, we are witnessing a coordinated assault on voter access and election integrity, and we cannot waver in our work. I am so proud to join President Biden and Vice President Harris in the cradle of the civil rights movement as we lead the fight to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the For the People Act, and the Freedom to Vote Act, legislation that will help us guarantee the right of Americans across our country to cast their ballot without fear of interference or obstruction.”  

“Access to the ballot box is fundamental to our democracy, but in states like Georgia this constitutional right is under attack. Republican suppression tactics affect us all,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07). In 2018, one-third of rejected absentee ballots in Georgia were from my home county of Gwinnett. In turn, I brought litigation to fight suppression efforts and in 2020 devoted a wing of my campaign to voter protection activities. I am proud of my work to protect voting rights, including strong support and advocacy for the ‘For the People Act’ and the ‘John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act’ — both of which have passed the House. The Senate must take action. It is critical that we find a way through on this issue.”

"A wave of voter suppression is sweeping the nation like we have never seen before,” said Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05). “My home state of Georgia, sadly, was only the first state to try and silence our voices. The two pieces of voting rights legislation currently in the Senate would give everyone free and fair access to the ballot – no matter your political party, no matter your ZIP Code. The Senate must take action now to secure our voting rights and there is no time more meaningful than just before Martin Luther King Jr. Day."