Gov. Wolf, Coalition of Governors Urge Congress to Protect Access to the Ballot for All

December 13, 2021

Governors express concern about the wave of threats to our nation’s democracy

State legislatures aim to limit access to the ballot and undermine voting rights

Congress should protect voters by passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is joining a coalition of 17 governors that sent a letter to U.S. Senate ​Leaders Charles Schumer and Mitch McConnell today expressing concern about threats to our nation’s democracy and urging Congress to protect the rights of voters by passing the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

State legislatures across the country are considering an unprecedented wave of bills that would undermine the right to vote, and these anti-democratic bills will create disparities that threaten our nation’s electoral process.

The letter states, “Without decisive action by the federal government this year to protect voters’ access to the ballot and ensure the integrity and transparency of our elections, the voices of Americans across the country, especially Americans of color, will be suppressed.”

The letter continues, “It is simply undemocratic for politicians to abuse their power and seek to pre-determine or even overturn our election results. Yet since the 2020 election, state legislators across 48 states have introduced nearly 400 bills to restrict Americans’ access to the ballot. Even now, legislators in some states are pushing to rewrite election laws—some they themselves passed—simply because they did not like the outcome of the last election. These state-level efforts to limit access to the ballot undermine voting rights and create disparities across the country regarding voting access.”

The governors asked Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

The Freedom to Vote Act would stop gerrymandering, bring transparency to elections, push back against voter suppression, protect local election workers from partisan attacks and harassment, and provide post-election audits standards.

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, update the law following the Supreme Court decision in Shelby v. Holder, modernize the formula identify patterns of discrimination, ensure last-minute changes to voting do not adversely affect voters, and strengthen the government’s ability to send federal observers to jurisdictions where elections are facing threats of discrimination.

The following governors signed the letter:

Tom Wolf
Governor of Pennsylvania

Governor Gavin Newsom
State of California

Governor Jared Polis
State of Colorado

Governor Ned Lamont
State of Connecticut

Governor John Carney
State of Delaware

Governor David Ige
State of Hawaii

Governor JB Pritzker
State of Illinois

Governor Gretchen Whitmer
State of Michigan

Governor Tim Walz
State of Minnesota

Governor Steve Sisolak
State of Nevada

Governor Phil Murphy
State of New Jersey

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
State of New Mexico

Governor Kathy Hochul
State of New York

Governor Roy Cooper
State of North Carolina

Governor Kate Brown
State of Oregon

Governor Jay Inslee
State of Washington

Governor Tony Evers
State of Wisconsin

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