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Kaine Statement on Senate Beginning Voting Rights Debate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement after Senate Democrats successfully used current Senate procedure to begin debate on critical voting rights legislation after months of obstruction by Senate Republicans:

“As a Senator sworn to protect and defend the Constitution who has lived through an attack on our constitutional form of government on January 6 and seen efforts to restrict voting rights across the country, I have concluded that debating and passing legislation that will protect the integrity of our electoral processes is of paramount importance to prevent any future assault on our democracy. The floor debate should be vigorous with an opportunity for colleagues to offer amendments to the bill.

“The provisions in the voting rights bill are popular with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Virginia has made many of these changes and we have seen voter turnout increase, and that increased turnout led to the recent election of a Republican Governor. These changes wouldn’t harm either party, but they will benefit and safeguard our democracy.”

Senate Democratic leadership opened debate on two major voting rights bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which have been incorporated into one bill as the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. Opening debate has not required any changes in Senate rules.

Kaine, a former civil rights attorney, has long fought to protect voting rights and expand access to the ballot box.

In September 2021, Kaine introduced the Freedom to Vote Act to improve access to the ballot for Americans, advance commonsense election integrity reforms, and protect our democracy from attacks. The Freedom to Vote Act contains provisions expanding voting by mail, early voting, and taking other steps to make voting easier and safer.

Kaine is also an original cosponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, introduced in October 2021. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore safeguards against potential restrictive changes to voting rules after the Supreme Court gutted those protections in its Shelby County decision in 2013.