News, Politics

‘We’ve Got To Find A Way To Pass Voting Rights, No Matter What’: Warnock And Federal Voting Legislation

After the For the People Act failed in the Senate on Wednesday, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., said he would continue to do everything in his power to secure voting rights.
After the For the People Act failed in the Senate on Wednesday, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., said he would continue to do everything in his power to secure voting rights.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

After an expansive federal voting bill failed in the Senate this week, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock said he’s “willing to do everything I can to make sure that people have access to the ballot.”

Among those ideas is a renewed call to scrap the Senate filibuster, the 60-vote requirement that stalled the bill.

“We’ve got to find a way to pass voting rights, no matter what,” Warnock said in an interview. “I don’t think that any Senate rule is more important than people’s constitutional right to vote.”

Warnock lamented the politicization of voting policy and said he would continue talking to members of both parties about the issue.

“In the last few years, this space has unfortunately become increasingly partisan,” he said. “I think that’s toxic for the process.”

But unlike the voting bill, which failed on the Senate floor without Republican support, the idea of abolishing the filibuster doesn’t even have all Senate Democrats’ support.

Still, Warnock said, a path forward for voting legislation “has” to be found.

“So that may mean putting forward some specific measures around areas of voting rights,” he said. “I think that the courts still have a role to play here for sure, in protecting people’s voting rights.”

Seven federal lawsuits have been filed to challenge Georgia’s Republican-led voting law.

“We have to use every lever in our government to make sure that that sacred American principle of one person, one vote is not undermined in this moment,” he said.

Warnock this week introduced a bill designed to target partisan election interference as one example of a more piecemeal approach to voting policy.

“That [bill] spoke specifically to this provision in [Georgia’s new law] SB 202 that allows the State Board of Elections, partisan actors run by the Republican legislature, to take over local elections,” he said.

“If the Republicans mean what they claim to mean about the importance of local control, then why don’t they join me on this bill? I’ll be talking to some of my colleagues about that.”