By Amy Berberyan and Neha Malhi
WASHINGTON D.C. – Several civil rights organizations, spearheaded by the NAACP, have announced the creation of a Senate scorecard to grade the performance of U.S. senators on their records defending voting rights in Congress.
These organizations included the National Action Network, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, National Council of Negro Women, National Urban League, Fighting for Our Vote Initiative, and the NAACP.
This movement was in response to a minority of U.S. senators blocking the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act a week before.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a proposed piece of legislation meant to strengthen voting rights with regards to requiring the federal government to approve of the states’ changes to their own voting laws.
Derrick Johnson, the CEO and President of NAACP, said “it is time we put senators jeopardizing our civil rights on notice.”
According to the NAACP website, the card calculates a senator’s score on a scale from pass, incomplete, and fail depending on how they voted “on the American Recovery act, Freedom to Vote Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act as well as their support for eliminating filibuster.”
Mobilization efforts focused primarily on Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and Wisconsin, and “demand action to advance legislation to protect voting rights,” according to the NAACP website.
“There is no greater crisis facing our nation at this moment that the preservation of democracy,” said Marc H. Morial, CEO and National Urban League President.
Morial said the Civil Rights Scorecard is “not just a measure of each Senator’s voting record. It is a measure of their character, their integrity and their patriotism.”
“The American people deserve the right to know which elected official is blocking their right to free and fair access to the ballot box,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of the National Action Network, “and this scorecard will provide further transparency as to who is being an obstructionist to democracy and the right to vote.”
Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, said that “the past several months have demonstrated that even the highest court in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, is subject to political influence and being used to uphold, approve and expand conservative efforts to suppress the vote of millions of people in our nation.”
Since such endangered the very basis of democracy, Campbell was adamant about treating this ordeal with urgency and eliminating any instances that threatened any party’s full participation in democracy.
She urged the Senate to “eliminate the filibuster and immediately pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Ph.D., National Chair and 7th President of the National Council of Negro Women, said “it is an insult to Black women and to all Americans that the power of their vote is diluted by measures that have the purpose and effect of undermining democracy.”
Cole insisted that “Democracy must mean the guarantee of civil rights for every citizen, or it means nothing at all.”