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Arizona students start hunger strike, demand White House, Sinema progress on voting rights

Twenty students from Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and other colleges in the state go on hunger strike to pressure one of the state senators, Kyrsten Sinema, to take the necessary steps to ensure that voting rights legislation is passed by the Senate.

The nearly two dozen students held a press conference outside the state capital of Phoenix on Monday, where they said they plan to wait indefinitely for their hunger strike until that Ms. Sinema agrees to support the freedom to vote law, as well as an exclusion of the filibuster necessary to push legislation through the Senate beyond the unified Republican opposition.

The group was formed by students brought together by UN-PAC, a group that describes itself as a non-partisan group supporting the effort to restore the Voting Rights Act through the Freedom to Vote Act, which seeks to reduce gerrymandering, black money and other issues raised by election experts on both sides of the aisle as threats to fair representation.

In an interview with The independent, one of the students who went on hunger strike explained that the group viewed the legislation as non-partisan, although it was almost fully backed by Democrats.

“We want this to be a non-partisan bill. We want this to have effects in perpetuity, and we want everyone to support it. This is not a Democratic, Republican or progressive bill, ”said Lauren Dorn, student organizer at UN-PAC.

“We intend to camp here outside the Capitol building,” Ms. Dorn continued, adding that the group would be there “indefinitely until we have some sort of action from them or were hearing some kind of response. “

“Her support is the most important aspect of what we do,” said Ms. Dorn. “I think she must kind of be listening to us at this point. We are here in Arizona, we were here outside the Senate building … we tell him that this young generation is ready to do the things that they don’t do.

Ms Sinema’s office and the White House did not immediately return requests for comment from The independent find out if they would meet the activists in the near future. Support for the voting rights legislation is almost unanimous within the Senate Democratic caucus, and the current iteration of the legislation is co-authored by Sen Joe Manchin, another conservative Democrat who, like Ms. Sinema, has voiced its total opposition to changing the filibuster rule in a way that would make it possible to pass the legislation.

The two men withstood increased pressure from activists for months to more firmly support the president’s agenda, including on the issue of voting rights. Mr Manchin had previously expressed optimism that he and other centrists might find enough support from the GOP to pass a voting rights bill, but that support has yet to materialize.

The lack of progress on the issue frustrated both the White House and supporters of the legislation, who questioned the seriousness of Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema’s support for the legislation.

“Manchin cannot bluntly state that Republicans have reasonable objections to his own compromise efforts,” wrote the from the Washington Post Jennifer Rubin, a centrist Conservative columnist, last month.

Mr Biden appeared open to changing the filibuster rule at a CNN town hall last month, citing the Senate’s complete inaction on the issue, while warning he would likely lose votes of the two senators and another Democrat (he did not name them) by doing this.

“We’re going to have to get to the point where we fundamentally change the filibuster,” the president said last month.

Ms Dorn said in her interview that the group “hoped to create a sensation” with the media coverage of the hunger strike and push Washington to move forward on the bill, which currently seeks to end previous human rights legislation. Democrat-led vote unless the party strategy changes fundamentally.

The Independent Gt

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