Human Rights Campaign Condemns Senate Republicans for Blocking Meaningful Voting Reforms

by Delphine Luneau

GOP Lawmakers Block Effort to Protect Voting Rights of LGBTQ+ People, Black and Brown People, the Elderly, Low-Income People and People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON — Following Wednesday’s Senate proceedings that once again failed to advance major federal voting rights legislation, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — again condemned the actions of Republican lawmakers who chose not to endorse essential election reforms, the most important and timely issue facing the country. The GOP's failure to pass this crucial legislation comes at the expense of marginalized communities at a time when lawmakers should be making voting easier, not harder.

“Access to the ballot box is a fundamental right in this country – a right that is currently under threat. The voting rights legislation that was before the Senate aimed to protect marginalized populations such as LGBTQ+ people, Black and Brown people, the elderly, low-income people and people with disabilities. Voter suppression efforts have taken the form of polling site closures, purges to voter rolls, and laws designed to make voting more difficult, and it is deeply irresponsible that Republicans in the Senate continue to show opposition to this much-needed federal legislation. Despite this profound disappointment, HRC will continue the fight to overcome voter suppression efforts and ensure that people are able to cast their ballots in November.”

Joni Madison, Human Rights Campaign Interim President

The Human Rights Campaign has called repeatedly for the passage of these essential reforms, noting earlier this week that enactment of the legislation would serve to honor the legacy of civil rights icon the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. In November 2020, HRC noted that the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would correct a 2013 Supreme Court decision that improperly stripped away key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A similar call in 2019 observed that absent federal intervention, states and localities have brazenly pushed forward discriminatory changes to voting practices, such as changing district boundaries to disadvantage select voters, instituting more onerous voter identification laws, and changing polling locations with little notice.

Many in the LGBTQ+ community — especially LGBTQ+ people of Color— endure and fear discrimination while accessing the right to vote. A 2019 HRC Foundation survey found that:

  • Fear of or experiencing discrimination led 22% of LGBTQ+ adults, 35% of LGBTQ+ adults of Color, 49% of transgender adults, and 55% of transgender adults of Color to avoid voting in at least one election in their lives.

  • An issue with meeting voter identification requirements prevented 24% of LGBTQ+ adults, 35% of LGBTQ+ people of Color, 42% of transgender people from voting in at least one election in their lives. Furthermore, 46% of transgender people of Color said they did not vote in one or more elections in their lives specifically because their I.D. had an incorrect gender marker, name, or photo.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.