BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – It was a disheartening moment for Democrats Wednesday night as the voting rights bill failed in the U.S. Senate.
Every Republican opposed the bill, preventing Democrats from getting the 60 votes needed to pass the legislation.
Democrats, for the first time, were able to force the senate to debate the voting rights legislation. After making their case, as expected, Republicans used a filibuster to block the bill.
Those in support of the bill are not giving up hope. Democrats concerned about how elections are conducted argue the legislation will expand access to voting. It’s something supporters, like President and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Dejuana Thompson, have said is critical to our democracy.
“That piece of legislation is all about making sure that there are standards in the way which people are able to vote across the board. So that we know that when someone goes in to do something sacred like present their ballot, that they know that there is some protection, that there are some standards being applied to make sure that their vote is cast and their vote is heard,” said Thompson.
Alabama Congressman Robert Aderholt talked with CBS 42 about the battle surrounding the voting rights legislation. Aderholt said the bill is misleading.
“We have certain constitutional rights to make sure that we do treat everyone fairly and make sure everyone who wants to vote can vote, but to try to micromanage the way the elections are held in each individual state is something we’ve never done before. The founding fathers didn’t envision that. It’s cloaked as a voting right’s bill but really it’s national voting legislation,” said Aderholt.
Alabama has a long-storied history with voting rights dating back to the civil rights movement in the ’60s. Thompson said she and other supporters are prepared to keep fighting to move the bill forward despite the setback with Wednesday’s vote.