CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Local activists say they’re hoping to send a clear message to Congress that they must pass the For the People act before it’s too late.
Dozens of people gathered outside of Senator Manchin’s office outside of the West Virginia Lottery Building.
Their message is to urge Senators to pass the for the people act before the U.S. Census Bureau releases data that will be used in re-drawing political district boundaries.
People who spoke Tuesday afternoon say they just want their voices heard. Kori Brown and Takeiya Smith with Young WV say, “It’s especially important for young people to have their voices heard because there are so many voter suppression laws that were presented earlier this year that make it harder for young people to participate.”
The For the People Act is a bill in the United States Congress to expand voting rights and change campaign finance laws. But Secretary of State Mac Warner says this legislation isn’t good for West Virginia. “54 of our 55 county clerks are against this okay. So that tells you something right there,” said Warner.
Warner’s opponent in the 2020 election and former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant spoke in favor of the bill today. “West Virginians want this. A Pugh poll said 79 percent of republicans, democrats and independents want what’s in this legislation,” said Tennant.
But Warner says it should be up to the state to decide election laws. “Things are going smoothly now in West Virginia with elections this is not a time to go messing it up and by the way, the US Constitution says the time, manner and place of elections is to be left up to the state legislatures and our legislature has done a wonderful job.”
The coalition that organized the protest today wants congress to pass the for the people act by August 16, when the U.S. Census Bureau must release final census data.
Protest organizers say the for the people act will ensure fair districting, and ban partisan gerrymandering.
Secretary of State Warner adds that West Virginia has more ways to vote than any other state in the nation with in-person, absentee, early voting in addition to electronic voting for overseas service members.