Hours after the Senate GOP once again blocked debate on the For the People Act, progressive organizations on Wednesday released the results of a survey showing that a majority of U.S. voters—including nearly three-quarters of Democrats—want President Joe Biden to "take a more active role in the fight" to pass the sweeping voting rights legislation.
"Americans need—and want—a president who will do whatever it takes to protect the freedom to vote, end partisan gerrymandering, and reduce the role of big money in politics."
—Adam Eichen and Kevin Rissmiller
Conducted by Data For Progress, Equal Citizens, End Citizens United, and other progressive groups, the poll found that 51% of U.S. voters—including 74% of Democrats, 42% of independents, and 30% of Republicans—would be more likely to support Biden if he is able to convince the Senate to pass the For the People Act, which the survey describes as "a bill to reduce the role of big money in politics, end dark money, strengthen the freedom to vote for all eligible citizens, and ban partisan gerrymandering."
In a blog post, Adam Eichen and Kevin Rissmiller of Equal Citizens stress that "the window in which the For The People Act can make the greatest impact is closing."
"The Census Bureau will release precinct level data tomorrow (August 12)," Eichen and Rissmiller note. "This will allow states to begin the redistricting process to draw the U.S. House district maps for the 2022-2030 election cycles. After this point, it will become increasingly difficult—though not impossible—to stop state legislatures from engaging in the worst practices to manipulate district lines for partisan advantage."
The new survey shows broad support for provisions of the For the People Act aimed at ending partisan gerrymandering, which Republicans have used for years to distort congressional districts for their own political gain. An Associated Press analysis published Tuesday found that in the wake of electoral victories a decade ago, "Republican politicians used census data to draw voting districts that gave them a greater political advantage in more states than either party had in the past 50 years."
The poll, based on a survey of 1,254 likely voters, finds that 74% of Democrats, 53% of independents, and 50% of Republicans support a ban on partisan gerrymandering and the establishment of "independent redistricting commissions" tasked with drawing district lines.
"Now, more than ever, Americans need—and want—a president who will do whatever it takes to protect the freedom to vote, end partisan gerrymandering, and reduce the role of big money in politics," Eichen and Rissmiller wrote Wednesday.
In June, before Senate Republicans deployed the 60-vote legislative filibuster to block debate on the For the People Act, Biden faced criticism from progressives for not doing enough to advocate for passage of the bill, which is co-sponsored by every member of the Senate Democratic caucus except Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
"It's time to fix or nix the Jim Crow filibuster, which has paralyzed our government at the worse possible moment."
—Charly Carter, Democracy Initiative
After the GOP blocked the measure, Biden delivered a speech decrying Republican-authored voter suppression laws in states across the nation as a "21st century Jim Crow assault" on the franchise and promised to fight back.
But civil rights groups have voiced grave concerns about the White House's reported belief that it's possible to "out-organize" the GOP's relentless voter suppression efforts by focusing heavily on driving voter turnout.
Echoing the sentiments of voting rights advocates, Eichen and Rissmiller argued Wednesday that "instead of asking activists to 'out-organize' assaults on our elections, it's time for the White House to leverage the full force of the bully pulpit to save American democracy."
"Over the last handful of months, hundreds of thousands of Americans have taken action to advocate for the For The People Act," the pair added. "Countless organizations, political scientists, and scholars of democracy have made the case that our democracy is in deep trouble and that everything—including filibuster reform—must be on the table to ensure the For The People Act's passage."
Following the Senate GOP's second successful blockade of the For the People Act early Wednesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed that voting rights "will be the first matter of legislative business when the Senate returns to session in September."
But with the legislative filibuster in place and Republicans unanimously opposed to the House-passed For the People Act—including a scaled-back version offered by Manchin—it's unclear whether Senate Democrats will be able to make any progress on the bill a month from now.
"Voters across the country will be outraged by this latest perversion of our democracy," Charly Carter, executive director of the Democracy Initiative, said in response to the GOP's obstruction on Wednesday. "It's time to fix or nix the Jim Crow filibuster, which has paralyzed our government at the worse possible moment."
This content originally appeared on Common Dreams - Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community and was authored by Jake Johnson.