WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration with oversight over federal elections and campaign finance law; Senator Jeff Merkely (D-OR), lead sponsor of the For the People Act; and Stacey Abrams, Founder of Fair Fight Action and former Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader, conducted a roundtable with Georgia voters to hear about the obstacles they have faced when voting and discuss the urgent need to protect voting rights.
The roundtable took place at the Smyrna Community Center, an early voting location in Cobb County where voters experienced lines of up to five hours during the early voting for the 2020 general election. This early voting location was closed for most of the Senate runoff election, which caused voters to travel a greater distance to vote.
“Just this year more than 400 laws have been introduced to limit people’s freedom to vote, and Georgia is exhibit A. We've all heard about the lack of water for people in line – how it can't even be given out on a non-partisan basis. But in Georgia they are also eliminating ballot boxes, reducing voting hours, and even shortening the length of runoff elections so people cannot register to vote before Election Day. These are all efforts to make it harder for people to vote,” said Klobuchar. “That is why we are holding a hearing here tomorrow – to get evidence of what is happening in Georgia and show the importance of passing basic federal voting laws to ensure all Americans can vote in the way that works best for them.”
“I am grateful to the Senate Rules Committee, Chairwoman Klobuchar, and Senator Merkley for travelling to Georgia to hear directly from voters in their continued commitment to passing the For the People Act. Today’s roundtable discussion highlighted the importance of immediate federal action protecting Americans’ freedom to vote, while also uplifting the personal experiences of Georgia voters - who represent the challenges faced by thousands around the state. On the eve of the Senate Rules Committee’s historic field hearing on the For the People Act, we rightly recognize the determination of voters to have their voices heard. However, such Herculean efforts should not be necessary. As citizens face a wave of anti-voter attacks across the country, the time for action on this crucial legislation is now,” said Abrams.
“As we heard today, Republicans in Georgia are attacking the right to vote from every angle. With laws like this sweeping across the nation, the very foundation of our democracy is under attack. The Senate must act to protect Americans’ freedom to vote,” said Merkley.
On Monday, July 19, Senator Klobuchar will chair a field hearing in Atlanta, Georgia titled Protecting the Freedom to Vote: Recent changes to Georgia voting laws and the need for basic federal standards to make sure all Americans can vote in the way that works best for them. This will be the first field hearing held by the Rules Committee in 20 years. At the hearing, witnesses will testify about recently enacted legislation to restrict voting in the state and the need for basic federal standards to protect the freedom to vote. Subsequent hearings will be announced at a later date.
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