Democracy in Peril: Top Political Scientists Highlight What’s at Stake with Freedom to Vote Act

November 22, 2021
Red light on emergency vehicle outside the US CapitolUS Department of Homeland Security/Wikimedia
Michael Latner
Senior Voting Rights Fellow

Today more than 150 of my fellow political scientists and I sent an open letter to Congress imploring Senate Majority Leader Schumer to suspend the filibuster in order to pass the Freedom To Vote Act.

The act would protect future elections from subversion, provide equal opportunities for all citizens to participate, require fair districting standards are met, strengthen transparency over money in politics, and facilitate the impartial administration of elections.

Failure to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, however, would “heighten post-election disputes, weaken government legitimacy, and damage America’s international reputation as a beacon of democracy in the world.” Indeed, without the basic protections provided by the Freedom to Vote Act, the US may fail to meet “the minimum condition for electoral democracy—free and fair elections…”

In short, the costs of not suspending the filibuster in the face of these threats far outweigh any potential long-term benefits. As the letter states, “to lose our democracy but preserve the filibuster in its current form—in which a minority can block popular legislation without even having to hold the floor—would be a short-sighted mistake of historic proportions.”

We urge the Senate to take action now against those seeking to undermine and subvert our democracy.