MEMO: Why LCV’s fight for voting rights and democracy reforms is stronger than ever

Mika Hyer, mhyer@lcv.org, 940-783-2230

TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Justin Kwasa and Doug Lindner, League of Conservation Voters
DATE: January 11, 2022
RE: Why LCV’s fight for voting rights and democracy reforms is stronger than ever

As Senator Amy Klobuchar said last week on the one-year anniversary of the violent January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and our democracy, “The voting rights legislation that we are working on right now couldn’t be more important, because what was not accomplished with bear spray and bayonets has now been passed on to others to pass bills…to undermine our democracy.” She’s right. It is past time for the Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act by any procedural means necessary.

LCV has been in the fight for voting rights and democracy reforms for years because we cannot have a healthy environment without a healthy democracy. The majority of people in this country overwhelmingly support protecting our democracy and want to see action on climate. 

But with big polluter interests flooding money into our elections, gerrymandering weakening the power of our communities, and partisan politicians suppressing access to the ballot box, the voices of those directly experiencing the health effects of pollution in their communities and the dangers of extreme weather are being silenced. Just in the last year, we have witnessed increasingly dangerous efforts to chip away at the foundation of our democracy, from anti-voter bills already signed into law in 19 states to partisan takeovers of local election boards and administrators. These threats to our democracy are particularly harmful to people of color, indigenous people, young people, and those who have a disability – the same communities that bear the burden of environmental harms that threaten our air, water, and climate. 

The good news for all of our communities is that – like climate action – passing democracy reforms is both good policy and good politics. Between the key bills we are fighting for, the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, we can expand voter access, increase transparency and fairness in our campaign finance system, root out corruption, secure our voting systems, and make Washington work for the people – including the disenfranchised residents of Washington, D.C.

And, as has been found in poll after poll, a strong majority of voters agree that our democracy is in crisis and support strong reforms:

  • A January 2022 NPR/Ipsos poll found that 64% of Americans agree that American democracy is in crisis and at risk of failing. Even more, 70%, feel the same about America itself.
  • A January 2022 Morning Consult poll found that a strong majority of top business leaders (85%) believe capitalism in the U.S. depends upon a well-functioning democracy. Many of those surveyed (72%) believe American democracy is being threatened right now.
  • A late fall 2021 Navigator poll found that at least three in five Americans across partisanship, race, and ethnicity say we need to make major changes in how our government works.
  • The same 2021 Navigator poll found that a majority (52%) of Americans support the Freedom to Vote Act, including 73% of Democrats. 
  • A November 2021 Lake Research Partners poll found that a majority (57%) of Arizona voters believe that passing voting rights is more important than preserving the filibuster.  

For all of these reasons, LCV’s commitment to getting these voting rights and democracy bills through Congress is stronger than ever. 

Since the start of the 117th Congress, LCV has weighed in on House passage of the For the People ActD.C. Statehood, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Protecting Our Democracy Act, announced that we will consider including votes on these in the 2021 National Environmental Scorecard, and we’ve called out Senate Republicans for obstructing the will of the people and blocking passage in the Senate. LCV is constantly working in coalition with environmental groups, democracy advocates, and other progressive partners on letters, events, and other tactics to generate the momentum needed to get these democracy reforms over the finish line, including being a lead convener of the January 6 Candlelight Vigil on the National Mall.

As LCV and over 150 influential groups stated in our January 6, 2022 letter to Senate Majority Leader Schumer, “We implore our leaders in Congress to rise to the moment and honor their duty by urgently passing this slate of crucial democracy and voting rights legislation.”

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