Stacey Abrams’ voting rights group will begin a monthlong effort to mobilize young Americans of color to support the For the People Act, a landmark piece of legislation that would combat voter suppression efforts nationwide.
Abrams, a former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, told supporters on Tuesday that her organization, Fair Fight Action, would launch an initiative called Hot Call Summer. The effort will last through June and include a campaign to ask supporters to call their senators and urge them to vote for the For the People Act. Fair Fight also hopes to text at least 10 million people in key 2022 battleground states in which Republican lawmakers have worked to tighten voter access.
“With voting rights under attack in 48 out of 50 state legislatures across the country, the moment has never been more urgent, and it will take all of us to ensure that Congress passes the voting rights protections our country and democracy desperately need,” Abrams wrote in an email to supporters first obtained by CBS News. “We can’t wait any longer for Congress to protect Americans’ freedom to vote.”
The campaign will feature Abrams, election workers and other elected officials and public figures, The New York Times added.
The For the People Act is an ambitions effort by Democrats to make it easier to vote. The bill would expand early voting nationwide, mandate rules to try to counter partisan gerrymandering and support statehood for the District of Columbia, among other provisions.
The measure has wide Democratic support but faces a tough road toward passage in the Senate because the party controls just 50 seats, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tie-breaking vote. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said last weekend that he would vote against the bill, calling it “partisan voting legislation that will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy.”
Voting and civil rights activists have tried to sway the senator but have so far come up short. Without his support, the bill is unlikely to succeed in an evenly divided chamber. Manchin has instead proposed that the Senate pass a narrower bill called the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Republicans have spent the first half of the year aggressively pushing new state laws that would make it much harder to vote, particularly for low-income Americans and communities of color. CBS notes at least 14 states have enacted laws to restrict voting rights, while some places, such as Texas, have proposed dramatic overhauls in voter access that have sparked outcry from civil rights groups.
The GOP has linked the drive to Donald Trump’s debunked claim that widespread voter fraud caused him to lose the presidency to Joe Biden in 2020. There is no evidence to back up such claims.
Abrams, who narrowly lost her bid for Georgia governor in 2018, is seen as likely to run for governor again in 2022.