Democratic state lawmakers on Thursday in a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urged him to make a package of voting and election law changes a reality by the end of August amid deep uncertainty over the proposal in the chamber.
The letter, signed by 46 lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly, backed the approval of the "For the People Act" that addresses voter accessibility, gerrymandering of legislative districts, campaign finance law, election security and ethics.
But with the U.S. Senate in Washington narrowly divided at a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats, the bill's approval remains in doubt without first finding a way around the threshold requirements of the filibuster. Lawmakers at the state level urged Schumer to "overcome the filibuster" and have the measure approved by next month.
"We know firsthand that getting a complicated piece of legislation through a closely divided legislative body is never easy, but our democracy depends on this bill," they wrote in the letter. "50 Democratic U.S. Senators are unified in support. As state legislators, we stand with you in your support of this legislation and urge you to do everything in your power to overcome a filibuster and pass the bill intact by the August recess. We cannot compromise the future of our democracy."
The letter also comes as Democrats in the state Legislature, who hold supermajorities in both chambers, have been able to approve multiple bills addressing election law and voting law changes in New York, including early voting and automatic voter registration.
"All Americans should be equally represented in our government, and we should not underestimate the suppression power of unfair structures designed to disenfranchise millions, no matter how much we pride ourselves on our organizing," the lawmakers wrote.