A group of Arizona college students has threatened to launch a hunger strike on January 17 if lawmakers do not pass a federal voting rights bill.
The students are associated with Un-PAC, a growing movement of students and young people “organizing to fix democracy so we can solve problems.” The group claims to be non-partisan although its co-founders include organizers who worked on campaigns to elect Bernie Sanders for president.
The vote on the #FreedomToVoteAct is in ONE WEEK. If we want to ban partisan gerrymandering and protect our democracy before the 2022 elections, we must pass this bill NOW. We will lose our democracy if we lose this bill. pic.twitter.com/OSZOS6P21g
— Un-PAC (@LetsUnpac) January 10, 2022
“We’re prepared to hold out indefinitely now that the holidays are over,” Leila Winbury, a junior at Arizona State University, said, according to Fox News.
“I have seen the consequences of a broken democracy my entire life, so we’re willing to suffer the consequences of hunger striking rather than the consequences of the bill not passing,” she added.
The group’s website says, “If the Freedom To Vote Act has not passed by MLK Day, January 17th, we will be escalating once again. We can’t win without you!”
The Un-PAC’s previous effort launched for 15 days beginning December 6. On the fifth day, some of the activists traveled from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., to meet with leaders at the White House.
The group’s members also protested outside of the White House in support of the Freedom To Vote Act.
— Un-PAC (@LetsUnpac) December 13, 2021
The group’s website shared that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pledged a Senate vote on the Freedom To Vote Act in January 2022 before the hunger strike was suspended.
“Additionally, please be advised that shortly after the 117th Congress resumes in January, the Senate will consider voting rights legislation, as early as the first week back,” Schumer said in a letter to fellow Democrats on December 20.
Meetings also included time with Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.
— Arizona Youth Hunger Strike for Democracy (@AZ4Democracy) December 17, 2021
The new legislation has been presented as necessary to protect democracy by Democrats. Conservatives have noted the bill would federalize many state voting measures. The Daily Wire previously reported in October:
Early this summer, Senate Democrats tried to advance H.R. 1, a sweeping bill designed to launch a partisan federal takeover of America’s elections. They failed to win over even every Democrat in Congress. Now, they are offering a bill they’ve dubbed the Freedom to Vote Act, though a more honest name would be the Freedom to Cheat Act. Democrats say it’s new, but it’s really just a fresh face for the same federal takeover.
Progressives are working overtime to brand the Freedom to Vote Act as a bipartisan “compromise.” In truth, Democrats negotiated with themselves and once again are pushing a partisan agenda aimed at eliminating the most popular and proven safeguards that preserve Americans’ confidence in democracy.
Take voter ID laws, for instance. The Left rails against requiring an ID to vote, claiming — despite all evidence to the contrary — that it is “voter suppression.” With H.R. 1, they tried to abolish voter ID requirements outright. But four in five Americans actually want everyone to show a photo ID when they vote, and these ID laws have grown more popular this year — especially among black voters. Black voter support for photo ID laws jumped 13 percentage points in five months; today, more than three in four black and Hispanic voters back them.
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