WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) spoke on the Senate floor in support of protecting voting rights, securing our elections, and reforming the nation’s broken campaign finance system to ban dark money. Senator Rosen is a co-sponsor of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. In her remarks, Senator Rosen noted that leading Republican candidates in Nevada for Secretary of State and Governor would move to restrict voting rights, have said they would not have certified the 2020 election results in Nevada, and would consider ignoring the will of the voters in future elections by certifying alternate electors, contrary to election results. Watch Senator Rosen’s full remarks here.
Below are Senator Rosen’s floor remarks as delivered:
Our democracy is extraordinary because it is built on the bedrock idea that through free and fair elections, the citizens who make up this great country, well they have a voice, that each person’s vote truly matters. That in America, the people have the power.
But, at this moment, our democracy is threatened. Republican state legislatures and governors all over the country are writing laws designed to restrict the right to vote, make it harder for tens of millions of eligible citizens to cast their ballot, and silence the American people’s voice in the process.
Make no mistake – this is an unprecedented, coordinated attack to make voting harder for eligible citizens and make it easier for bad actors to sabotage our future elections.
In my state of Nevada, we’ve bucked that trend when it comes to voting rights. We’ve strengthened the right to vote, providing easier access to the ballot box for eligible voters, while ensuring fair elections.
These measures that Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law include establishing a permanent vote-by-mail system, expanding the early voting period, and making it more convenient to register and to vote.
But while Nevada has moved forward to protect and strengthen voting rights, we are not immune from the attempts to sabotage it.
In Nevada, the leading Republican candidate for Secretary of State stated that he would have refused. I repeat, would have refused to certify President Biden’s victory in our state, even though the results were certified by a Republican Secretary of State and unanimously upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court.
That same candidate opened the door to certifying alternate, alternate electors in future Presidential elections in Nevada, contrary to the actual election results.
And, in Nevada, the leading Republican candidates for Governor are promising to undo our progress and make it harder for Nevadans to vote because they refuse to accept the results of the 2020 election – they’re pushing the former president’s false conspiracy theories that fueled the January 6th insurrection.
Attacks like these are a growing threat to democracy, and exactly the reason we need to act urgently.
If we fail to do so here and now, new state laws will result in hours-long lines at the polls, overturned election results, and masses of disenfranchised voters.
So, let’s talk about solutions. Smart solutions. Solutions that give every eligible voter equal access to the ballot box.
The Freedom to Vote Act, combined with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, meets this moment. It meets the moment we are in with our democracy in crisis. It delivers real, meaningful action.
First, this bill makes it easy for people to register to vote. It does this by requiring states to allow eligible Americans to register online and on Election Day, as well as update our automatic voter registration system.
This bill would also require states to accurately maintain their voter registration lists and protect voters against unwarranted purges from the voter rolls — this way, those who should be eligible to vote can do so without hassle or harassment.
The Freedom to Vote Act gives Americans more choices on when and how they can legally vote through national standards for early in-person voting, expanded mail-in voting, and finally making Election Day a national holiday.
Because even if you’re a hardworking American who is busy working long hours, or looking after your children, caring for a sick relative, you should still have access to the ballot box.
This bill would ensure election security and prevent partisan sabotage by requiring post-election audits and enhancing protections for election records.
The Freedom to Vote Act would also take long-needed steps to end political corruption in our elections. It would accomplish this:
By protecting U.S. elections from foreign interference,
By prohibiting false information designed to dissuade eligible voters,
By promoting online ad transparency, and
By putting an end to dark money in our elections.
To borrow a few words from the late Congressman John Lewis, my former colleague from the House, a legendary civil rights leader and American hero for whom this bill is named, an inspiration to us all and to people all around the world.
John Lewis said, and I quote, “The right to vote is the most powerful tool in a democracy.”
I’m going to repeat those words from John Lewis. Listen closely: “The right to vote is the most powerful tool in a democracy.”
Each person’s vote is their voice. It is every citizen’s opportunity to weigh in on what matters most to them, for their family, for their community, and for their country. It matters. It is fundamental to our democracy, to the very definition of what it means to be an American citizen. For each and every one of us to stand up, to stand tall, to get to the ballot box and be able to vote the way we choose and have the assurance that our vote is counted. It matters. Each person matters.
And so, if the Senate cannot move forward on this critically important legislation under the status quo, then it is time to reform the rules to restore the Senate to pass this legislation, because only then can we protect our democracy’s future, and secure the freedom to vote for every eligible American, for this generation and for the generations to come.