Selma native Congresswoman Terri Sewell says Biden Should’ve Spoke Sooner on Voting Rights

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Congresswoman Sewell assured CBS News that having grown up in one of the most significant locations of Black history, she knows very well how much voting rights need to be adjusted. Sewell said she wished President Biden’s speech came sooner in his presidency given legislators are actively placing new restrictions on voters and their access to the ballot.

Sewell told CBS News she believes it is ‘critical’ to pass the Freedom to Vote Act which would expand the ways people can register to vote, allow incarcerated individuals to vote and keep already registered voters from being removed among many more progressive action items.

From CBS:

“We have an ongoing concerted effort by state legislatures across this country to impose greater restrictions on voting and to actually stop certain segments of the population from voting,” Sewell continued. “Frankly, what these two bills will do will provide federal oversight for those most egregious state actors, and also provide the mechanism by which we promote voting and allow people the opportunity to be able to access the ballot box.”

Sewell noted that though Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema won’t support changing filibuster rules, they support voting rights, and further, Manchin helped write the Freedom to Vote Act.

“The Freedom to Vote Act is actually a bill that was crafted by the senators, including Senator Manchin,” Sewell said. “I think that both bills are critically important to our democracy in helping to make sure that all Americans have equal access to the ballot box.”

Sewell also introduced the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act which would restore the parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that have been shaved down by the Supreme court. The right to vote would be irrefutable and solidified, like it was supposed to be in the first place.

Congresswoman Sewell also addressed the part of the bill that would concern voter ID disparities, which is basically the new form of voter suppression. The Brennan Center for Justice reported states like Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina share a pattern of imposing new restrictions just ahead of an election causing a dramatically large number of Black people and people of color to be affected.

More from CBS:

An ID in and of itself is not what I’m saying is discriminatory. Frankly, you have to be able to prove who you are on that voter roll to get that ballot, that’s fine,” Sewell told Garrett. “But when states are picking winners and losers based on the types of IDs that they are requiring, if you allow a hunting license but don’t allow a university student ID, you’re making a decision about which voters are more likely to vote, having an easier time getting to the ballot box than the other.”

Sewell is a third generation Selmian and the first Black woman to represent Alabama in Congress, reported CBS. “You don’t grow up in Selma without a real understanding of the intersection between history, both Confederate history and civil rights history. It converges in Selma, Alabama,” she told CBS.

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