Kentucky group slams McConnell for blocking a bill to protect voters


Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) won't even hold a vote on a popular House-passed bill aimed at protecting voting rights.

Voting rights advocates in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's home state of Kentucky ran a full-page ad in the local Sunday paper calling McConnell out for stopping a voting rights bill from coming up for a vote in the Senate.

"We the people demand a hearing on the For the People Act," said the ad from the League of Women Voters of Kentucky (LWVKY). The ad appeared in the Courier Journal in Louisville, and smaller versions of the ad ran on Saturday and Monday. It encouraged readers to call their senators and demand a committee hearing on the bill.

"Kentuckians have lost confidence that our voices are being heard and fairly represented," Fran Wagner, LWVKY president, said in a statement. "We have a system in which corporate/money interests unduly influence politicians, gerrymandered districts strip voters of their voice, and voting restrictions disenfranchise eligible voters," she added.

McConnell's refusal to take any actions on the House-passed bill was cited as the reason LWVKY decided to run an ad calling for a hearing, which is typically a precursor to voting on a bill.

The For the People Act passed the House of Representatives in March with an overwhelming 234-193 vote. The bill would make Election Day a national holiday, require automatic voter registration, and take steps to protect election infrastructure against foreign attacks and end partisan gerrymandering. In addition, the bill would expose dark money donors, letting Americans know who is trying to influence lawmakers and the public.

Even before the bill passed the House, McConnell opposed it. On the Senate floor in January, he whined that a bill making it easier for eligible Americans to vote would be unfair to the Republican Party.

His position is so repulsive that one Kentucky newspaper, the Lexington Herald-Leader, called his views "segregationist" and declared McConnell "has all but declared that he's against removing barriers to voting and making elections cleaner and more fair because he thinks it would help Democrats win."

McConnell's opposition to pro-democracy legislation may be one of the reasons he is America's least popular senator. According to a recent poll, half of Kentuckians disapprove of the job he is doing, while barely a third approve.

McConnell opposes a bill that "takes direct aim at many of the current roadblocks to making democracy work," Cindy Heine, a LWVKY board member, said in a statement. "Passage would be a huge step forward for democracy. The Senate must hold a hearing."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.