Senator Raphael Warnock In His First Floor Speech Champions Federal Voting Laws

“I stand before you saying that this issue — access to voting and preempting politicians’ efforts to restrict voting — is so fundamental to our democracy that it is too important to be held hostage by a Senate rule, especially one historically used to restrict the expansion of basic rights,” Warnock said during his first-ever floor speech. “It is a contradiction to say we must protect minority rights in the Senate while refusing to protect minority rights in our society.”

Warnock referred to Georgia’s restrictive voting bills as “Jim Crow in new clothes,” as Georgia has become battleground central for voter suppression versus voter rights.

The new proposals “want to make it a crime to bring Grandma some water while she’s waiting in a line that they’re making longer,” Warnock said.

Warnock called on the Senate to look beyond the filibuster to find ways to pass the For the People Act, the major voting rights bill that passed in the House earlier this month and would enact common sense reforms such as establishing nationwide automatic and Election Day voter registration, expanding early voting, and enacting new limits to curb what has become—thanks to a series of federal court rulings, including Citizens United—a campaign finance free-for-all. 

The full speech is below. In its conclusion, Warnock received a rousing ovation.

Rachel Maddow spoke with Warnock about achieving a legislative victory.

Source info at Mother Jones, The Hill, and AJC