The Republicans blocked the initiative, preventing it from being debated because it did not gather a minimum of support
The last attempt of the American president, Joe Biden, to protect the right to vote, was shipwrecked this Wednesday in the Senate due to the unanimous blockade of the Republican opposition and the divisions within his own party.
First, the Republicans refused to consider Biden's great electoral reform using a maneuver called filibustering and that allows the debate of any measure to be prevented if a minimum is not met. of 60 votes. Hours later, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, proposed a change in the rules of that chamber to reduce the power of filibustering and get the measure debated. However, as predicted, didn't manage to gather the support he needed among his ranks. Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined the Republicans in voting against changing the rules of the game. The Republican blockade and the internal differences between the Democrats represent a setback for Biden, who celebrates one year in power this Thursday.
The bill that the Democrats wanted to pass in the Senate would have guaranteed the right to vote in advance and to vote by mail, in addition to establishing that the day of the elections is a national holiday, which could increase participation since the US always holds the elections on a working Tuesday in November. It would also allow the Justice Department to monitor any changes to election laws in states that have a history of discriminating against racial minorities.
Eight hours in line to vote
African-American senator from Georgia , Raphael Warnock, whose position could be in danger due to the voting restrictions approved in his state, gave an emotional speech in the hemicycle and considered that today has a “moral” aspect for the United States and warned that it will go down in the books of history. He recounted how a woman named Verona told him that she had to wait in line for eight hours in the rain to vote in the November 2020 elections and explained how some university students decided not to go to the polls because they did not want to miss classes . “Those are the consequences of the laws that are being passed in Georgia and across the nation,” said Warnock, who was a pastor at an Atlanta church where civil rights leader Martin Luther King, assassinated in 1968, preached. de King, along with other civil rights leaders, have been pressing the Senate in recent days to end voting restrictions that harm minorities and the population with fewer resources, who already go to the polls in lower proportions.
Biden “deeply disappointed”
Biden, for his part, said in a message on Twitter that he was “deeply disappointed” by the failure of his great reform electoral. “I am deeply disappointed that the Senate has not defended our democracy I am disappointed, but not discouraged,” the president said. However, he promised that he will continue promoting changes that allow protecting the right to vote in the United States and once again positioned himself in favor of a modification of the Senate rules to reduce the power of filibustering, something that he had resisted asking for until a few days ago.
The Vice President of USA, Kamala Harris, who serves as president of the Senate, attended the vote in a sign of the importance that the Administration gives to the issue. In statements to the press, she promised that neither she nor the president “will throw in the towel” and assured that protecting the right to vote is “fundamental” for American democracy.
The Trump conspiracy theories
The current battle over the right to vote occurs because in the United States we do not there is a central electoral system and each state sets its own rules as
electoral. During the pandemic, many territories relaxed the requirements to vote by mail or in advance, which caused a record participation in the 2020 elections and fueled conspiracy theories by the then president, Donald Trump (2017-2021), and his followers about an alleged massive fraud at the polls, dismissed by the courts for lack of evidence. In reaction, the Republicans have approved during the last year 33 laws in 19 states that limit the vote. Some of these laws make it more difficult to vote by mail, shorten the deadlines for going to the polls in advance and even penalize giving water or food to those who wait long hours in line to exercise their right.
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