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Thousands march in Washington, U.S. cities for voting rights

WorldAug 28, 2021 09:27PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. On the 58th anniversary of the historic March On Washington, March On for Washington and Voting Rights march to demand that the vision of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 2/2

By Merdie Nzanga and Nathan Layne

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Thousands of protesters rallied in Washington and other U.S. cities on Saturday to demand protections for voting rights, aiming to pressure lawmakers to pass legislation to counter a wave of ballot restrictions in Republican-led states.

Held on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic 1963 March on Washington, organizers of the "March On For Washington And Voting Rights" stressed that the moves to curb voting access would disproportionately affect people of color.

In Washington, protesters holding "Black Lives Matter" flags and signs calling for federal legislation marched from McPherson Square to the final meeting point at the National Mall, where a series of civil rights leaders delivered remarks not far from where King gave his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech 58 years ago.

More than 20,000 people participated in the march, the Rev. Al Sharpton estimated in a Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) post. Rallies also took place in Phoenix, Miami and dozens of other cities.

Activist Carolyn Ruff, 74, said she made the trip from Chicago to Washington to push for the passage of a federal law that would restore key protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed discriminatory voting practices.

The bill, named after the late civil rights hero and longtime congressman John Lewis, was approved in the U.S. House of Representatives this week but faces poor prospects in the Senate due to rules that allow a minority to block legislation.

Lewis' youngest brother urged Republican senators to put aside partisanship and pass the law, saying that fundamental rights secured in the 1960's were at stake.

"Just think, 58 years later we are still fighting for those same rights. Something about that just don't sound right," said Grant Lewis told the crowd. "It doesn't matter what side of the aisle you are on. It's more important to be on the right side of history."

After Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, Republican lawmakers in many states reined in the use of dropboxes and mail-in voting. The moves came after Republican former President Donald Trump tried unsuccessfully to overturn the election based on unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.

So far this year, at least 18 states have enacted laws restricting voter access, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

In addition to the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a more expansive voting reform bill was passed by the House earlier this year, but Senate Republicans blocked it in June, saying voting rules should be left to the states.

The lack of meaningful Republican support appears set to doom any legislation in the Senate, which is divided 50-50 along party lines and where filibuster rules mean Democrats need to secure the votes of 10 Republicans to advance measures.

Kathleen Kennedy, 27, said she joined the Washington march after reading about a law in Texas that had garnered national attention after Democratic lawmakers fled the state in an effort to deny a quorum needed for Republicans to pass it.

The bill, which would outlaw drive-through and 24-hour voting locations and add new identification requirements to mail-in voting, among other restrictions, was approved by the state's House of Representatives on Friday.

"So many of these laws are getting passed. Elections are coming up, elections will be impacted by these laws," said Kennedy, a resident of nearby Silver Spring, Maryland. "It's worth ending the filibuster."

Some speakers also promoted the idea of making the nation's capital the next state. A coalition of groups advocating for Washington, D.C., statehood, called 51 for 51, was one of the leading organizers of Saturday's event.

Thousands march in Washington, U.S. cities for voting rights
 

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Comments (23)
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Sep 02, 2021 10:32AM ET
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Ooo, a whole “thousands”.
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Aug 29, 2021 8:20AM ET
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It reminds me of when they march for “womens rights” and they are really marching to abort babies as if Roe V Wade is going to be ripped from them.
Ethel Basset
Ethel Basset Aug 29, 2021 7:09AM ET
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Stop cheating.
Steffen vdm
Steffen vdm Aug 29, 2021 2:08AM ET
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That first paragraph reads like a 19th-century article
Rudolph Docauer
Rudolph Docauer Aug 28, 2021 11:56PM ET
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Wow what a BS article, talk about slanted all the way to the left.
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Aug 28, 2021 11:31PM ET
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The only time I've seen "thousands" of people show up for anything is a trump rally
Steffen vdm
Steffen vdm Aug 28, 2021 11:31PM ET
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Only 800 stormed the Capitol, not thousands
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Aug 28, 2021 11:31PM ET
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Trump rallies have 10’s of thousands.
Casey Connor
Casey Connor Aug 28, 2021 11:29PM ET
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Democrats are the true racists
Jon Gr
Jon Gr Aug 28, 2021 11:17PM ET
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Voting right lol Heres your rights….be a law abiding citizen of legal voting age with a valid ID and register to vote. Its not that difficult.
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Aug 28, 2021 11:17PM ET
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Amen for the obvious
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Aug 28, 2021 10:53PM ET
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Thousands march in US? Devide that total by atleast 100 (even the photo struggle to demonstrate thousands) and then you also have the fact that most people that march, get paid and have no idea why they march. USA must be the only country in the world that doesn’t understand “voter ID” to vote. Go to the bank/hospital/school/airline…, what would they ask you?When will the people wake up and see the nonsense the media push?
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Aug 28, 2021 8:37PM ET
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Most open, easy, and protected voting rights in ALL OF AMERICAN HISTORY. These petulant whiners are trying sooo hard to keep the racism industry alive because it's the only way they know how to make money.. It's sad and sickening.. Let racism dye the ugly deth it deserves. Stop trying to keep it alive for personal gain!
Steffen vdm
Steffen vdm Aug 28, 2021 8:37PM ET
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Many groups will want to keep racism alive (black people, white people, socialists, right wing, left wing...). Without racism their existence can't be justified.
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Aug 28, 2021 8:37PM ET
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Steffen vdm  - The vast majority of Americans couldn’t care less about color, but it is primarily Black Americans who profit from racism, are racist, and insist that it remain the focus of the nation. They’re the only ones with a vested interest.
Raymond Huggard
Raymond Huggard Aug 28, 2021 7:46PM ET
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They already have the right to vote. The liberals want the right to cheat.
Eero Rintala
Eero Rintala Aug 28, 2021 6:51PM ET
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showing ID when you vote is a standard in any civilized nation, but Dems say it's difficult to black people get the ID, if that's not racist, what is?
Steffen vdm
Steffen vdm Aug 28, 2021 6:51PM ET
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Dems have no ID (what they are doing)
Brian Faralon
Brian Faralon Aug 28, 2021 4:54PM ET
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Remember the media wanted him impeached on made up lies even before his election. Hysterical. What a disaster the Biden administration is. He's a senile figurehead for the lunatic lefties.thank god we have an election in '22 to take back the congress and the greatest country the world has yet seen.
Kelly Mayer
Kelly Mayer Aug 28, 2021 4:06PM ET
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Wow... Talk aobut an inverted reality... Inversion is the main weapon on these left radicals...
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Aug 28, 2021 4:02PM ET
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According to Reuters it's not an honest election until it's overrun with fraud
Brian Faralon
Brian Faralon Aug 28, 2021 4:00PM ET
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Does that include protection from the lying media to sway the vote?
Mike Mike
Mike Mike Aug 28, 2021 2:24PM ET
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Uneducated shouldn't be allowed to vote. Heck uneducated shouldn't even be allowed to live in US.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Aug 28, 2021 1:52PM ET
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malarkey, they want to allow the illegal immigrants,prisoners to vote. They have no concept of penalty. If u break the law, we take away some of ur rights n that include voting
Adrian White
Adrian White Aug 28, 2021 1:52PM ET
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Nobody is saying that illegal immigrants should be able to vote. That's just a tired, old narrative from the far-right, to rile up their base.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Aug 28, 2021 1:52PM ET
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Adrian White Lorita Sanchez got elected from many illegal immigrants the first time. After that she won fair and square because the Hispanic voters dont want to make their name look bad on the media.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Aug 28, 2021 1:52PM ET
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Adrian White Loretta Sanchez
Jon Gr
Jon Gr Aug 28, 2021 1:52PM ET
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Liberals never tell you their end game. They didnt want to take anyone’s guns a few years ago either. They also didnt want to have open borders.
Ominous Owl
Ominous Owl Aug 28, 2021 1:24PM ET
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Let's bring Afghan refugees & get them to vote too, next.
Adrian White
Adrian White Aug 28, 2021 1:24PM ET
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Sure, if they eventually become citizens. It would be their Constitutional right. Nothing wrong with that.
Klaus Weyers
Klaus Weyers Aug 28, 2021 1:00PM ET
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voting rights? you mean the dems want to prevent rightful as in ID required voting.. so funny how they also corrupt language
Dave Stewart
Dave Stewart Aug 28, 2021 12:30PM ET
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You need an ID to drive, rent an apartment, fly on an airplane, buy alcohol and tobacco. You need an ID for so many things, but apparently its unlawful to require an ID to vote.
Anthony Cloud
Anthony Cloud Aug 28, 2021 9:27AM ET
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Look at where we are now - complete diaster as a result of these phony “voting” cough cheating cough methods.
Bobby Hollis
Bobby Hollis Aug 28, 2021 6:53AM ET
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they are pushing for cheating rights. The left can't win by honest elections
Adrian White
Adrian White Aug 28, 2021 6:53AM ET
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That's what the Trumpanzees keep telling themselves, to try and get over their hurt feelings for Orange Man legitimately losing.
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Aug 28, 2021 6:53AM ET
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Adrian White  deflect the reality and blame Trump.  It never ends
Adrian White
Adrian White Aug 28, 2021 6:53AM ET
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Milena, I'm not deflecting reality. Reality is that very little voter fraud has been found, after countless Republican investigations, including such desperate ideas as trying to find bamboo fibers in ballots cast for Trump. The reality is he lost, fair and square. But his ego couldn't accept the facts. That's not "blaming Trump". It's simply stating the facts.
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Aug 28, 2021 6:53AM ET
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Adrian White  If petulant 'lil Adrianne's views were correct, wouldn't you get a few thumbs up's.. even occasionally? You're on the wrong side of logic, reality, history and truth buddy. You really should try to come to grips with it for your own sense of self worth...
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Aug 28, 2021 6:53AM ET
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Adrian White  consider this ..there's very little voter fraud because people are required to have an ID.  It's a whole lot of security for very little inconvenience.
 
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