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After reaching historic levels of turnout in the 2020 election, young people in this country have remained active and invested in ensuring that our generations’ freedom to vote is protected. Since November, we have seen over 400 state bills that would restrict voting access and put in place barriers to voting introduced or enacted—each one representing a threat to our democracy and many likely to disproportionately impact young potential voters. Several of these have already been signed into state law.

For this reason, young people have been at the forefront of the movement to pass voting rights protection legislation, including the For The People Act, a comprehensive bill that would protect access to voting, prohibit partisan gerrymandering, and reduce the influence of big money in politics. Early Wednesday morning, Senate Democrats voted unanimously to proceed with debate on the For The People Act and two other pieces of legislation that would stop gerrymandering and shine a bright light on the dark money polluting our political system, respectively. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans are refusing to even open up debate on any of the three bills. Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) has indicated that he will continue to push for debate on the For the People Act when the Senate returns from August recess. 

Generation Progress is proud to remain in this fight as a member of the Declaration for American Democracy (DFAD) coalition, a group of over 220 organizations fighting for voting rights, and as a leader of the DFAD Youth Working Group. 

Brent J. Cohen, the executive director of Generation Progress issued the following statement in response:

“Generation Progress is encouraged that Leader Schumer is committed to continuing debate on critical pro-democracy legislation like the For The People Act when the Senate returns in September, and that the momentum to enact these bills is only growing.

Young people know that progress on the issues that matter most to Millennials and members of Generation Z is only possible if we are represented by our democracy and able to actively participate in it. When we must overcome cumbersome barriers to voting—like restrictive and arbitrary deadlines or registration processes—in order to cast a ballot, or when politicians are allowed to choose their voters rather than the other way around, our democracy cannot function properly. In order to see action on the existential issues facing our generations, like the climate crisis, the gun violence epidemic, and the student debt crisis, we will need to reduce the influence of dark money and self-serving politicians and allow the voices of voters, including young voters, to be heard. ” 

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact eleach@americanprogress.org.

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