Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Rosario Dawson, Billie Eilish, Keke Palmer, Martin Luther King III, Alicia Keys, Amy Schumer, Ariana Grande, Common, DJ Khaled, Fat Joe, Finneas and Jennifer Lopez are among the many stars who signed an open letter from When We All Vote/March On For Voting Rights asking Congress to quickly pass voting rights legislation.
The open letter signed by When We All Vote co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Tracee Ellis Ross, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Selena Gomez and many more, was first issued in March and then recently re-published on the group’s site with a call to action for Americans concerned about ongoing, widespread Republican efforts to erode voting rights.
The House is slated to vote on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act this week, with thousands expected to get together online and in the streets on Saturday (Aug. 28) for the March On For Voting Rights event, which will commemorate the 58th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. There will be marches in D.C., Phoenix, Atlanta, Miami and Houston as well as in nearly 50 other sister march locations across the nation.
In the wake of former president Donald Trump’s election loss last year, 48 states have introduced nearly 400 bills that March On has called “shameful, outright voter suppression,” with many already becoming law. “These laws suppress voting methods that enrich our democracy and lead to high turnout: banning ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting, reducing early voting days and hours, restricting who can get a mail-in ballot, prohibiting officials from promoting the use of of mail-in ballots even when voters qualify, even criminalizing the distribution of water to voters waiting in the long lines these laws create,” the group said in a statement. “Racist, anti-democratic voter suppression laws amount to rigging the game. But in America, elections are not a game — and lives depend on their outcomes.”
Since the letter’s original release in March, the organization said there has been little progress on federal voting rights legislation in Congress, where Republicans in the Senate have repeatedly stonewalled progress on the For the People Act, which aims to increase Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics and implement other anti-corruption measures.
Among the 700 When We All Vote supporters who’ve co-signed the letter are: Al B. Sure!, Rev. Al Sharpton, Amandla Stenberg, Andy Cohen, Arianna Huffington, Arndrea Waters King, Becky G, Blake Lively, Chrissy Teigen, Darren Criss, Eva Longoria, Issa Rae, Jada Pinkett Smith, Joe, Nick and Kevin Jonas, John Legend, Laverne Cox, Leonardo DiCaprio, LL COOL J, Regina King, Rosario Dawson, Ryan Reynolds, Stephen Curry, Taraji P. Henson, The Roots, Wanda Sykes and many more.
After Trump and Republicans failed to overturn the presidential election on the basis of their demonstrably false assertions of voting irregularities, Republican governors and state legislators began what has been viewed as a concerted attack on voting rights. Many of those efforts are focused on limiting mail-in voting, curtailing early voting and same-day voter registration, the use of ballot drop boxes, as well as rules that would threaten voter registration volunteers with criminal charges for helping Americans cast ballots; the bills are seen by experts as attempts to tamp down the number of people who vote and disproportionately target minority voters.