Over 20 students in Arizona have been protesting for federal voting rights legislation.
Arizona State University students and University of Arizona students joined the Nonpartisan Political Group Un-PAC to protest the University of Arizona’s decision on December 6. haven’t eaten in nine days. Ity started by camping out at Arizona’s Capitol before moving their protest to Washington D.C., where other young people from other states have joined them.
The protesters are camped outside the White House, pushing for lawmakers to pass the Freedom to Vote Act before the year’s end.
“The Freedom to Vote Act is about getting dark money out of politics and protecting our freedom to vote. Without it, our democracy will crumble — and our futures hang in the balance,” said 21-year-old striker Leo Cevallos, a senior at Arizona State.
Cevallos said the hunger strike is “physically taking its toll,” with some students feeling fatigue, brain fog, headaches and dizziness. “But emotionally, we’re feeling very supported and proud,” he added.
The protesters are specifically demanding a meeting with the Biden administration, urging President Joe Biden to “do whatever is necessary” to get the legislation passed this year.
The Freedom to Vote Act would require mail-in voting and automatic and same-day voter registration, and would ban partisan gerrymandering and undisclosed “dark money” in elections.
Republicans have repeatedly blockedThe legislation was prevented from being passed in the Senate.
Progressive lawmakers and voting rights advocates have asked Democratic senators not to support the filibuster. This would permit the legislation to be passed with a simple majority. However, conservative Democratic Senators will need to approve the elimination of the filibuster. Joe ManchinKyrsten Silnema (Ariz.), (W.Va.), have both spoken. they don’t support eliminating the filibuster.
Voter restrictions keep young voters and voters who are low-income, Black and Latinx from the polls in adisproportionate way.
Sinema met with some of the young hunger strikers over Zoom last week in what Cevallos called a “wonderful meeting.” Asked if they spoke with the senator about her position on the filibuster — which is effectively blocking the voting rights legislation from passing — Cevallos only said that the group’s focus is on “federal intervention,” asking Biden to use his “political capital” to get it passed.
The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
This July the Supreme Court upheld voting restrictions in ArizonaCritics claim that non-white voters are discriminated against.
Republicans are represented in all 50 states by Republicans. pushing hundreds of billsAt the state level, it would limit voting. These efforts are already law in many states including Georgia, TexasArkansas Arizona.
Voting rights activists have turned to Congress in hopes of passing federal legislation that will protect voter rights across the country.
The young strikers in D.C. say they plan to keep up their fast “indefinitely,” until voting rights legislation is passed.
“We’ll stay out here as long as we need to,” Cevallos said. “Right here on the steps of the White House, where Biden can see us.”