PHOENIX (KPHO/Gray News) - A group of about 20 college students and other young voters are staging a hunger strike to encourage Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, to allow the final passage of the Freedom To Vote Act.
The students, who were gathered at the Arizona Capitol on Monday morning, said they will participate in the strike for the rest of the week. The students also hope to visit Sinema’s office to discuss pushing the bill forward, KPHO reported.
“Today, like you, I have grave concerns about the future of our democracy,” said a speaker at the demonstration. “And we will not allow Sen. Sinema to negotiate away our survival. This is serious to ignore us.”
The students said they will remain at the state legislature and said they hope to meet with the senator to discuss the importance of advancing voter rights legislation. The students donned shirts and signs saying, “AZ hunger strike for democracy.”
“It’s time that we take back our democracy. The one that our founding fathers had envisioned,” said another speaker. “An America where all people have an equal opportunity, and they can be, through the passage of this bill.”
Officials with Sinema’s office said the senator supports voting rights legislation and she is in favor of the Freedom to Vote Act, which is included in the bill. However, Sinema has resisted eliminating the filibuster, which is a procedure requiring 60 votes to move a bill forward.
Democrats need the support of all 50 of its senators to eliminate the filibuster, which Republicans have used four times this year to block voting rights bills.
Sinema’s office issued a statement on Monday night regarding the strike: “I appreciate all Arizonans engaging in our public discourse and policy and encourage young Arizonans to stay engaged in ways that protect their health and safety.”