Graphic: Quino Al via Unsplash (mod by Rayne)

Three Things: A Call to Action for Voting Rights [UPDATE-2]

[NB: check the byline, thanks. Update(s) at the bottom of the post. /~Rayne]

It’s time to go to the phones and demand your elected members of Congress not only support civil rights but fulfill their oaths of office.

Before I forget, here’s what you’re going to need:

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use

You may also look up your senators’ local offices online and call the one closest to you.

When you call you’re going to remind them the people are guaranteed under the Constitution a republican (little r) form of government under Article IV, Section 4:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…

The text may specifically say the states are guaranteed this, but it means that every state and in turn its citizens shall be assured their government is of, by, and for the people, with government’s powers arising from their consent. No closed clique will govern opaquely for narrower interests.

To that end every citizen must be assured the right to vote as part of that guarantee. We expect our elected officials to deliver on that, not to act like some star chamber.

Call and demand this through the support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act, letting no procedural rule like the filibuster get in the way of the greater obligation to fulfill their oaths.

~ 3 ~

John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, S.4 (JLVRAA) undoes much of the damage done to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 caused by the Supreme Court’s absurd decision in Shelby County v. Holder (2013).

Because of Shelby County v. Holder, states have been able to violate citizens’ voting rights as states are no longer held to a federal standard to ensure they do not discriminate against voters.

This violates the 14th Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause; depending on the state in which U.S. citizens resided, they may not be assured the same voting rights as citizens in other states.


– Prevents states from reverting to discriminatory polling policies including but not limited to literacy tests and poll taxes with a new federal preclearance policy evaluating polling changes;

– Establishes adequate advance notice to citizens of changes to voting rules by states;

– Allows the U.S. Attorney General to assign observers where racial discrimination against voters is most likely;

– Not only requires federal approval for policies impacting the ability to cast a ballot or register to vote, but ensures availability of language assistance for ESL voters as well as fairness in redistricting.

This bill does not replace the 1965 Voting Rights Act but works hand in glove with it to protect every citizen’s right to vote.

~ 2 ~

The For the People Act, S.1 also supports the 1965 Voting Rights Act by:

– Expanding automatic voter registration to every state;

– Restoring voting rights to Americans who have completed their felony sentences;

– Establishing independent redistricting commissions in every state to end partisan redistricting.

– Changes ethics and campaign finance rules to reduce improper and unethical influence on legislation.

You’d think this would be a no-brainer piece of legislation.

~ 1 ~

This video by David Pepper offers the clearest explanation I’ve found as to why the filibuster must go when it comes to voting rights.

Our rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. Our elected members of Congress have a duty to ensure the guarantee is fulfilled as part of their oath of office.

Their oath is NOT to changeable, non-permanent procedures which have benefited a narrower class of citizens.

Insist your senators fulfill their oath and end the filibuster for any civil rights legislation including the JLVRAA and Freedom to Vote Act.

This applies equally to every member of Congress, no matter what state or party affiliation; they’ve sworn the same oath to defend and uphold the Constitution.

~ 0 ~

Perhaps I could have written a shorter hortatory post; if I’d felt less than I do about this I might have, but these bills are essential to the preservation of our democratic republic.

Bottom line: call your senators and demand they fulfill their oaths by passing the JLVRAA and Freedom to Vote Act, ending the filibuster as necessary to pass these bills.

Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or use

Now go – get in good trouble. Let us know how you did in comments.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 5:00 PM —

Looks like there may have been a breakthrough on a procedural basis:

Fingers crossed this works. Can’t be certain we have 50 senators supporting these two bills yet.

If your senators are Republicans or Independents, call them anyhow. All 100 senators swore the same oath.

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-2 — 1:00 P.M. 13-JAN-2022 —

Last evening Michael Li of the Brennan Center noted the two voting rights bills have been consolidated, which may make the “message between the Houses” procedure much easier.

This morning Democracy Docket’s Marc Elias noted a change adding anti-subversion wording:

So the new “Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act” isn’t just a consolidation but an improved bill.

I need to confirm the improvement may get around that corrupt twit Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s block of three election security bills which were intended to prevent foreign interference and tampering with electronic voting machines over the internet. (By the way, racist Blackburn is up for re-election in 2025. Ditch her, Tennesseeans.)

The problem even with the procedural maneuvering remains Sen. DINO Sinema who has given a speech this morning which Sen. McConnell praised. That should tell you all you need to know.

Keep calling your senators including GOP senators. The ones who are more centrist like Murkowski in Alaska may be amenable — especially Murkowski given the percentage of voters in her state who are Native American.

19 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I probably ought to think about making a monthly contribution to so I can set up a page for calls to action like this one, hmm?

      • Rayne says:

        CALL THEM. Doesn’t matter what their party affiliation is, they need to know citizens demand their guarantee under the Constitution to a republic.

        Voting rights aren’t and shouldn’t be partisan. GOP presidents have signed reauthorization of the 1965 Voting Rights Act’s Section 5 enforcement provisions — Nixon in 1970, Ford in 1975, Reagan in 1982, Bush in 2006 — until SCOTUS lamely decided racism no longer affected voting in 2013, McConnell waived the filibuster to steal a SCOTUS seat, and racism at the polls suited Trump just fine. Until GOP senators feel the wrath of constituents and recognize the loss of voting rights hurts their party’s future growth, they’ll just play dead.

      • Leoghann says:

        Yes indeed! Let’s let each one know that we remember them, by overloading their obstructionist asses with phone calls.

  2. Joe Sommer says:

    The only phone calls that might count come from WVA and AZ. Otherwise, the callers are wasting their time and that of the poor staffers who have to pick up the phone.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, I just say what I know about her. As to whether she still has the ability to be a superb retail candidate, I don’t know. But she sure was at one time.

    • Rayne says:

      How do you tell someone you’re white without actually saying, “Hey, I’m white.”

      I mean, seriously, fuck you. This country is fucked up right now because citizens have been disenfranchised in a host of ways, including assholes who repeatedly tell others, You don’t matter, you don’t count, don’t bother.

      • Chirrut Imwe says:

        Tell us what you really think, Rayne.

        Both of my senators have been called, and strongly worded messages left, as no one picked up. This post gave me everything I needed to present a (hopefully) cogent argument. Thanks.

        • Chirrut Imwe says:

          Am I being naïve to trust that DC staff are including both voicemails and connected calls in the constituent-contact report summaries given to the senators?

          And I always include my name and zip in either case…

        • Rayne says:

          If you’re including your name and zip code, one of your calls will be dropped from their tally. But if you have any doubts a recorded message wasn’t received, don’t hesitate to try local or DC number in the alternate. You’re paying for it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Nonsense. They all count, even if your Senator is from a deep blue state. They all need encouragement, the middle of the roaders most of all. As for Manchin and Synema, deluge them. It may not change their position, but it might make them spend more effort to triangulate around the voters they won’t support, and possibly make them give in somewhere else. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

      • Peterr says:

        But don’t bother calling someone who isn’t your representative or senator. Listening to constituents is one thing – the one thing they know they have to do even if they don’t agree or like it — but listening to someone else’s constituents is someone else’s job.

        • Chirrut Imwe says:

          I must say that, although I am not a Mainer, I could not resist calling Susan Collins’ office on multiple occasions to ask if she still felt TFG had learned his lesson after impeachment #1.

    • civil says:

      Calls to all Senators matter, both because they need to know that this is an issue that constituents care about and — in this case — because you may be providing them with a good argument that they’re not aware of. The argument might convince a colleague like Manchin and Sinema, or it might convince members of the public, or both.

      At one point, I encouraged my then-Representative Jamie Raskin, who ended up being one of the impeachment managers, to talk with House Democrats about crowdsourcing possible articles of impeachment and wording of the articles, as I’d seen articles and wordings that I believed were stronger than what I’d seen discussed to date by the Congressional Democrats. (He is no longer my Representative because I moved.) I still believe that the Democrats could have developed a stronger set of articles of impeachment in this way, and Republicans should have been faced with voting the stronger set, and arguments in the Senate trial should have had to address the stronger set.

      I believe something similar here: the arguments can be strengthened by drawing on the thinking of people who are not members of Congress. No doubt that already happens to some extent (e.g., members of Congress already talk with some people outside of Congress and have the staff look things up), but that process could be improved by broadening the set of good arguments that reach members of Congress.

  3. Leoghann says:

    The Democracy Docket tweet thread noted that, although using messages between houses would circumvent the filibuster on the voting rights bills, a motion to vote could still be filibustered. So, after calling Mark Kelly’s office and Sinema Sentral, I also called and messaged Chuck Schumer’s office, asking that, until this bill is passed, he enforce the original filibuster rules, forcing those who wanted to do that to be in attendance, and to stand and personally talk, rather than the new process of accepting an email from a Senator stating their intention to filibuster.

    • civil says:

      I agree that the previous rules are better, but Schumer cannot enforce the previous rules unless the Senate first agrees to change back to those rules. It’s not a change that Schumer can make unilaterally.

Comments are closed.