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Kaine Statement on Vote on Senate Rules Reform to Pass Voting Rights Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement after voting rights legislation was blocked by Senate Republicans and ahead of a vote to reform Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation:

“The unwillingness of Republicans to entertain voting rights reform does not absolve the Senate of the responsibility to protect democracy. Following massive disenfranchisement efforts in states across the country, we need to reform the Senate rules so that we can pass legislation ensuring all Americans can vote without undue burdens or obstacles. Guaranteeing that Americans can vote and that their vote will be counted will be good for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, because it will be good for democracy itself.”

The rules change the Senate will vote on will not weaken or abolish the filibuster. It will transform the current secret filibuster back into a public talking filibuster, thereby allowing voters to see and judge the Senate, as was the case during the vast majority of Senate history. This change would limit endless obstruction and allow passage of voting rights legislation, so the Senate could work better for the American people. This proposed change draws from the history of the filibuster rule, which required Senators to speak on the floor to hold a filibuster prior to changes made in the 1970s.

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