PHOENIX - Arizona State University students are among a number of people in Washington D.C. who are taking part in a hunger strike to put pressure on Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act.
"This is a now or never issue," said one of the participants "We don't have a couple more weeks or couple more months to get it passed."
Jan. 17 marked Day 5 of the hunger strike, and those taking place planned to be done on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with hopes the bill will be passed by then. The bill calls for the end of gerrymandered districts, requires states to have early voting, and would make voter registration easier.
Opponents of the bill say it would weaken election security.
"They are willing to strip, prior of some of their rights, strip out states of their constitutional authority in order to get the power they want," said Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.
This is not the first time the students have held a hunger strike. In December 2021, they camped out at the Arizona State Capitol, calling on Sen. Krysten Sinema to end the filibuster, thereby allowing for the passage of the bill. Now, however, the students have taken the fight to D.C., and even met with the family of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as they marched in support of the bill.
"[President] Biden said we will get them next time. There is no next time," said one of the participants. "Our future and lives are in the balance of this bill getting passed."
Sen. Sinema said while she does support the Freedom to Vote Act, she has previously opposed to ending the filibuster, saying it forces both sides to work together.
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