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Civil Rights Groups Join to Offer Scorecard on Elected Officials’ Voting Records

National Urban League CEO Marc Morial explained the need for the report.

Fresh off the heels of the GOP members of the U.S. Senate declining to allow debate on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, a coalition of civil rights organizations came together to publish a scorecard to grade lawmakers on their voting record. The grades are intended to send a message that voting is the ultimate goal to be protected, and any legislator who impedes citizen’s rights to vote should be called out on failures to protect American rights.

Groups including the National Urban League, the NAACP, the National Action Network, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, Fighting for Our Vote Initiative, National Council of Negro Women and others, worked in coalition to produce the report.

National Urban League president and CEO Marc Morial told BET.com about the scorecard and the strategies around improving voting rights for Black people. He explained this tool to help voters know how their legislators stand and also points out how unified are the civil rights groups around the issue.

“This is the first time ever unified civil rights organizations came together to create a scorecard. It comes out to elevate the urgency and emergency around democracy and voting rights,” he said.

Morial explained for too long Black Americans have been pandered to by politicians who break promises once they get enough votes to put them in office. This scorecard shows who is actually doing the work of protecting voting rights and he dubbed it the “No More Okey Doke Initiative.”.

The grades were calculated based on how a senator voted on American Rescue Plan Act, commonly called the “Build Back Better” plan, the John R. Lewis Voting the Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act. Senators received a grade of "A", "F" or "I" for incomplete. Every Republican earned an "F" grade. Democrats and Independents received either "A’s" or "incomplete."

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 19 states have passed 33 new laws in 2021 that make it harder for Americans to vote. And these restrictions disproportionately target Black voters.

Morial said he understands how tired Black voters are when it comes to representatives who don’t try to get their needs served.

“These politicians can’t just come home and talk about ‘Well I did my best.’ But they weren't willing to put it on the line to pass,” he said. “This is a question of people wanting to shrink the electorate versus those of us that want to make sure that everyone has a fair and equal right to power.”

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While Democrats hold the majority of seats in the Senate, the Congress and the White House, they have been thwarted to pass legislation because the Republicans hold enough seats in the Senate to keep Democrats from reaching 60 votes, which is the number needed to overcome a filibuster.

Morial says he knows voters may be weary, but the fight for voting rights is just ramping up and promised there’s more coalition work to come.. He explained, “The levels of activism and pressure are going to increase and we think this scorecard sends the most powerful message.”

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