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Hundreds of Scholars Warn Congress That U.S. Democracy Is 'at Risk' in Disturbing New Statement

Hundreds of Scholars Warn Congress That U.S. Democracy Is 'at Risk' in Disturbing New Statement
Hill Street Studios/Getty Images // New America

In the wake of Trump's conspiracy theories regarding the validity of the 2020 election, Republican legislatures have proposed a wave of voter suppression laws under the guise of election security.

These laws are designed to limit the participation of historically Democratic voters, and particularly Black voters. The proposals limit the number of ballot drop-off boxes available in each district, impose significant restrictions on mail-in voting, and some even forbid giving food or water to voters waiting in long lines.

The Senate is preparing to consider House-passed voting rights legislation limiting the ability of GOP-led state legislatures to limit access to the ballot box. Though Democrats hold razor-thin majorities in both the House and the Senate, the Senate filibuster presents an uphill battle to get the legislation passed.

Now, experts are emphasizing the urgency of passing voting rights legislation, warning that the future of American democracy depends on it.

The policy think tank New America released a statement of concern on Tuesday, signed by hundreds of democracy scholars, which says in part:

"[W]e have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election. Collectively, these initiatives are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections. Hence, our entire democracy is now at risk."

It continues:

"In future elections, these laws politicizing the administration and certification of elections could enable some state legislatures or partisan election officials to do what they failed to do in 2020: reverse the outcome of a free and fair election. Further, these laws could entrench extended minority rule, violating the basic and longstanding democratic principle that parties that get the most votes should win elections."

The scholars are imploring Congress to take action.

"We urge members of Congress to do whatever is necessary—including suspending the filibuster—in order to pass national voting and election administration standards that both guarantee the vote to all Americans equally, and prevent state legislatures from manipulating the rules in order to manufacture the result they want. Our democracy is fundamentally at stake. History will judge what we do at this moment."

The statement only added to concerns that Republicans will once again promote election conspiracy theories and attempt to undermine the electoral process.

Talks of suspending the filibuster and passing voting rights legislation with a simple majority have been met with opposition from moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

They're facing increased pressure to reverse their positions.

So far, they've shown no signs of budging.