WASHINGTON, DC — This week a coalition of civil rights organizations, led by the NAACP, released its first-ever Senate scorecard, which grades every U.S. Senator on performance defending voting rights in the 117th U.S. Congress.
Participating organizations include the National Urban League, National Action Network, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, Fighting for Our Vote Initiative, National Council of Negro Women, and the NAACP. The scorecard release comes on the heels of a minority of U.S. Senators repeatedly blocking widely popular legislation that is critical to defending free and fair access to the ballot box for communities of color.
The Civil Rights Scorecard gives Senators grades ranging from A (pass), I (incomplete), or F (fail), based on their votes on the American Recovery Act, Freedom to Vote Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act as well as their support for eliminating the filibuster.
“We are at war for our democracy, yet lawmakers are still finding a way to put partisanship above country,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP. “It is time we put Senators jeopardizing our civil rights on notice. We must be loud and clear, all across the nation, that we will not rest until voting rights for all are restored. This Congress must use any means possible to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
To drive Senators to take action, on November 10 and 12 coalition partners are activating members in states across the country to demand action to advance legislation to protect voting rights. Mobilization efforts will focus most directly in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
“There is no greater crisis facing our nation at this moment than the preservation of democracy,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “History will judge every member of the Senate on their commitment to protecting our most sacred Constitutional right. 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.”
“Time is up for the Senate to end the filibuster and deal with the immediate threat to our voting rights. The American people deserve the right to know which elected official is blocking their right to free and fair access to the ballot box, and this scorecard will provide further transparency as to who is being an obstructionist to democracy and the right to vote,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of the National Action Network.
“There is a full partisan assault on voting rights in this country, especially against Black voters, other voters of color and young voters. Historically, when our laws have failed to protect our right to vote, we have relied on the courts to deliver justice by upholding our constitutional right to vote. However, 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. That leaves the very core of our democracy at risk and we cannot wait any longer to pass federal legislation that fights back against efforts to limit who has the ability to participate fully in our democracy, without barriers, fear and intimidation. That is why we are urging the U.S. Senate to eliminate the filibuster and immediately pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” said Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.
Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Ph.D., National Chair and 7th President of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) indicated, “We believe it is past time that the filibuster be amended to permit protection of civil rights, or abandoned altogether. 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. Democracy must mean the guarantee of civil rights for every citizen, or it means nothing at all.”
Find how your Senator scored at civilrightsscorecard.org.