Issued January 13, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC: Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement today after the U.S. House passed the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act:
“As we prepare to commemorate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr, it is clear that our nation stands at a crossroads: to either protect the freedom to vote, which was at the heart of Dr. King’s bold vision for economic and social justice, or let self-interested politicians and their corporate backers continue their racist attacks on voters. Nineteen states enacted 34 new laws that restrict access to the ballot box in 2021 alone and more are under consideration today as state legislatures resume business. Today’s House passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act is a significant step forward in stopping these attacks and ensuring that every voice is heard in our country.
“This legislation will ensure that voters can safely and freely cast their ballots, protect us against election sabotage, stop racial and partisan gerrymandering, and limit the influence of dark money in politics so that billionaires can’t buy elections. These protections are necessary to move our country forward from the economic, social and health crises of the last two years. When voting rights are under attack, so is our ability to pass substantial legislation like the historic Build Back Better Act, create good jobs, make it easier for working people to join unions, expand access to care for our most vulnerable citizens, build a pathway to citizenship, address climate change and environmental injustice and reimagine our justice system.
“SEIU’s 2 million members and worker leaders in the Fight for $15 and a Union applaud House Democrats for taking this necessary step to address the Jim Crow 2.0 laws that threaten the cornerstone of our government. We know our votes are our voice and our power. Whether it be at the ballot box or in the workplace, the freedom to vote must be protected. Right now the Senate must follow suit to uphold the legacy of Dr. King, John Lewis and so many other civil rights leaders who made sacrifices to ensure every person has an equal voice in our nation’s affairs by passing this bill.”