Chamber calls on Graham and Scott to start debate on voting rights. “Put forward and defend your position”

Chamber calls on Graham and Scott to start debate on voting rights. “Put forward and defend your position”

Press Release
January 17, 2022

Columbia, SC—Today the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce sent letters to Senator Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott asking them to vote to start the debate on the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

“If you truly believe that your reasons for opposing these bills are in the public’s best interest and will sway public opinion, then stand on the Senate floor and make your case,” wrote Frank Knapp Jr., President and CEO of the Chamber.

“Voting rights are the essence of our nation’s democracy. Not to allow even a Senate debate on this issue sends a message to your constituents that you are not willing to stand before the American people to put forward and defend your position, ironic since you serve in what has been referred to as the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.”

The below letter was sent to both Senators Graham and Scott.

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Dear Senators Graham and Scott,

Tomorrow (January 18) the US Senate is expected to vote on moving forward with debating the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

We ask that you vote to start the debate.

While you might not vote to pass either of these bills, the public deserves to hear a formal debate on the Senate floor so that all positions are aired in a public forum and be subject to counter arguments.

If you truly believe that your reasons for opposing these bills are in the public’s best interest and will sway public opinion, then stand on the Senate floor and make your case. Take the opportunity to point out the flaws in the positions of those who do not agree with you. No one questions that you have the oratory skills to make sound arguments.

Speaking directly to the media, issuing press releases, and sending newsletters on these bills are not a debate. One could argue that only engaging in these activities reflect an admission that positions you hold will not fare well when challenged in a Senate debate.

Voting rights are the essence of our nation’s democracy. Not to allow even a Senate debate on this issue sends a message to your constituents that you are not willing to stand before the American people to put forward and defend your position, ironic since you serve in what has been referred to as the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

My organization supports the passage of both these voting rights bills. We believe that a strong democracy is necessary for a healthy entrepreneurial economy.

However, we understand the value of bipartisanship in formulating public policy. But such negotiations cannot really happen if Senators are either unwilling or unable to make their case to the American people in a public forum such as on the floor of the US Senate.

Sincerely,

Frank Knapp Jr.
President & CEO