PHOENIX - Activists in Arizona hope they can convince Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to push a voting rights bill through Congress, and they are taking drastic steps to try and get through to her by launching a hunger strike at the Arizona State Capitol on Dec. 6.
"Today, we will launch an indefinite hunger strike for democracy," said one speaker at the event.
The Hunger Strike for Democracy launched with about 20 or so people pledging not to eat until Congress took action on a bill called the 'Freedom to Vote Act.' The bill promises a number of voting reforms, including the end of gerrymandered districts, national same-day voter registration, and political spending disclosures.
"We will be striking indefinitely, and we really hope our elected leaders take seriously that this is a moral plea for Federal intervention," said Shana Gallagher, who helped organize the event.
The group targeted the Biden administration's inaction on the bill. They also urged Sen. Sinema to use her power in the Senate to help the bill. Some felt like campaign promises of election reform were being broken.
"For my entire life, American politics has been defined by extremism, corruption, and volatile rhetoric on behalf of our leaders," said ASU student Lauren Dorn.
The group was started by progressives but says election integrity is a non-partisan issue. The group is asking for a meeting with both the Biden administration and Sen. Sinema, and says they are prepared to see this hunger strike through until they get that.
When reached for comment, an official with Sen. Sinema's office released a statement from the senator, which reads:
- ‘Anti-American’: Biden slams voting restrictions as part of ‘big lie’
- For the People Act: Voting rights bill fails to advance in Senate
- Arizona Sen. Sinema targeted by conservatives in effort to stall contentious Dem-backed voting bill