A Rochester DFL lawmaker was one of more than 200 activists arrested Wednesday in a Washington, D.C., protest.
Rep. Liz Boldon was part of a rally organized by the League of Women Voters, People For the American Way and Declaration for American Democracy in an effort to encourage President Joe Biden to push the Senate to pass both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
I’m proud to be in DC with hundreds of others calling on @POTUS to take action for #VotingRightsNow. Our democracy is at stake - we need to nix or fix the filibuster & ensure everyone has the #FreedomToVote #NoMoreExcuses pic.twitter.com/HFE9AfR43c— Rep Liz Boldon (@LizBoldonMN) November 17, 2021
Protesters were arrested for blocking the sidewalk near the White House, and Boldon, who announced earlier this month that she will seek a second term in the 2022 election, said she was issued a $50 citation, which she paid.
“People have asked why I did it,” she said of attending the protest. “I say it’s so important. We are in a state of emergency and our democracy is at risk.”
With approximately 800 protesters in attendance, Wednesday’s demonstration was the fifth and largest in a series of rallies aimed at the two pieces of legislation, which have been blocked in procedural votes.
The Freedom to Vote Act seeks to establish Election Day as a national holiday and set national minimum standards for early voting and voting by mail, among other things.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act takes aim at voter suppression and seeks to restore or update portions of the Voting Rights Act, originally passed in 1965. The measure is named in honor of the late Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon.
Democrats have been under pressure to pass voting reforms while holding a majority in both chambers of Congress and the White House, but efforts have seen GOP resistance in the Senate, which is what protesters hope Biden will help overcome.
Wednesday’s rally featured participants from throughout the country, including faith leaders, civil rights activists, elected officials, labor leaders and students.
Organizers report a Nov. 3 demonstration led to more than 50 activists being arrested, and an Oct. 19 rally ended with 25 arrests.
Boldon said she hasn’t heard of plans for a sixth rally, but anticipates there will be more action if voting legislation isn’t passed.
“I will continue to participate to raise awareness of this important issue,” she said.