Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had simply spent the week taking part in a giant function alongside his GOP colleagues in tanking Democrats’ efforts to secure federal protections for voting rights nationwide. Voters of shade are significantly involved about how troublesome it could change into to take part in American democracy.

Talking with reporters on Thursday, McConnell was requested to deal with these fears.

“Nicely, the priority is misplaced,” he replied. “As a result of for those who have a look at the statistics, African-American voters are voting in simply as excessive a share as Individuals.”

His phrasing sparked fast backlash from Black lawmakers and lots of others, since African-Individuals are, clearly, Individuals ― but the highest Republican in Congress simply recommended they aren’t.

“After centuries of constructing this nation, Republicans nonetheless don’t contemplate Black voters to be Individuals,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) wrote on Twitter.

Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) despatched a letter to McConnell’s workplace during which he referred to as the comment “appalling.”

“Your feedback give larger perception into your motivations for opposing voting rights laws, and they’re prejudicial and morally reprehensible,” McEachin wrote.

Charles Booker, a Democrat working to unseat Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), tweeted: “I’m no much less American than Mitch McConnell.”

Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D), who’s working for U.S. Senate, tweeted that McConnell’s comment was “a canine whistle” ― the “identical one he has blown for years.”

Democratic Nationwide Committee Chair Jaime Harrison additionally joined the critics.

In his feedback on Thursday, McConnell went on to quote a survey that discovered 94% of respondents thought it was simple to vote. “This isn’t an issue,” he argued. “Turnout is up.”

It’s true that turnout within the 2020 presidential election set an all-time file. Census knowledge exhibits that within the 2020 election, Black voter turnout was just a few share factors decrease than common turnout amongst all eligible American voters.

However that doesn’t imply the identical will maintain true for future elections, given what number of state legislatures have been working to alter how their elections are carried out, make it tougher to vote, and make it simpler to flip the result.

Final yr, the Justice Division sued the state of Georgia over new voting restrictions, accusing lawmakers of unlawfully concentrating on Black voters. In North Carolina, a panel of judges struck down a voter identification legislation final fall after discovering it was “motivated at the least partially by an unconstitutional intent to focus on African American voters.”

Over the course of 2021, 19 states enacted laws making it more durable for individuals to vote, based on the Brennan Middle for Justice.


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