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Arizonans threaten hunger strike if voting reforms aren't passed

A group of 20 young people announced Monday they will go on a hunger strike until Congress greenlights the Freedom to Vote Act.
Credit: Arizona Youth Hunger Strike for Democracy

PHOENIX — A group of 20 young people announced Monday in Phoenix they'll go on an indefinite hunger strike until Congress commits to passing the Freedom to Vote Act before the end of this year. 

The strikers said they hope their efforts will convince Arizona Senator Kyrtsen Sinema, who's considered a swing vote in the divided Senate, to publicly support the proposed legislation by helping to eliminate the Senate's filibuster rules. 

Sinema has been criticized for blocking the bill's passage by protecting the filibuster, which requires 60 senators to end debate on most topics and move to a vote. Democrats currently don't have enough votes in the Senate to overcome the filibuster hurdle

The voting bill addresses various issues involving voting access, election integrity and security, redistricting, and campaign finance. One of the bill's highlights includes establishing Election Day as a federal holiday.

The strikers said the legislation would provide the most significant electoral reforms in recent history and called upon the Biden Administration to prioritize the issue.

“Without getting dark money out of politics and protecting our freedom to vote, our democracy will crumble,” said Georgia Linden, a University of Arizona student. “Our futures hang in the balance of the Senate’s decision to restore their rules and pass this bill this year. Our Senators must meet their responsibility to represent us, not be swayed by the broken, partisan divide in DC.”

The group said they will camp outside the Arizona Capitol building and hold daily news conferences during their strike.

“The window of opportunity to fix this broken system and save our democracy is closing. We would rather make this grave sacrifice than suffer the consequences of inaction,” said Lauren Dorn, an Arizona State University student. 

RELATED: Two Tucson inmates indicted for alleged illegal voting during 2020 election

RELATED: No, the Arizona Senate GOP's 'audit' did not find 57,000 questionable ballots

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