HUNGER STRIKE DAY 1: Indefinite strike for voting rights legislation begins despite no clear path forward

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Protesters began a second hunger strike on Thursday to demand Congress pass voting rights legislation, even as any chance of a review seems dead.

“I’m sure everyone here shares the feeling that this hunger strike is easier to bear than the consequences of not passing this bill,” Arizona State University student Brandon Ortega told Fox News Digital. “These are our lives at stake.”

The 40 youth activists plan to strike indefinitely unless legislation is passed by the Senate. But after Senator Kyrsten Sinema reaffirmed that she would not vote to remove the filibuster, which would have meant the Senate needed only a simple majority to pass the voting rights laws, the legislation appears to have no immediate way forward.

Ortega said voting rights legislation was necessary because “several states have enacted more and more restrictive voting laws.”

The federal laws, if passed, would allow same-day voter registration, establish Election Day as a national holiday, and expand postal voting. But critics have argued that some measures would open elections to fraud.

The legislation would ensure that “voters can vote freely and safely,” Ortega told Fox News Digital.

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Similarly, Generation Vote founder Brianna Cea added, “From New York to Texas, Michigan and Florida, we’ve talked to young people forced to jump through hoops to exercise their right to vote.”

Either way, with the filibuster still in place, Democrats are missing out on the 60 votes it takes to pass the legislation.

“There is no need for me to reiterate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation,” Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, said on the Senate floor. “There is no need for me to repeat his role in protecting our country from wild reversals of federal policy.”

sen.  Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., makes remarks on the Senate floor in support of the legislative filibuster, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.

sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., makes remarks on the Senate floor in support of the legislative filibuster, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.

Strikers urged the Arizona senator to change her position.

“Senator Sinema, I beg you to reconsider this position,” said the director of the Declaration for American Democracy, Jana Morgan. “You have the power to change this country for the better. You must prioritize our country’s future by choosing to protect the freedom to vote against a mysterious loophole in the Senate.”

SINEMA DOUBLES ON FILIBUSTER SUPPORT, LIKELY FATAL BATTLE ON DEMS ELECTION RULES

In December, activists ended a previous hunger strike after 15 days when President Biden said he would make voting rights a priority in the new year.

The strikers suffered from “dangerously low” blood pressure, “excruciating” headaches and “more than 10 pounds” of weight loss, Un-PAC co-founder Shana Gallagher said at a news conference.

Ortega described the feeling as “hunger pain, fatigue and just general discomfort.”

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The ASU student told Fox News Digital that they would not stop fighting for the legislation.

“We hope we don’t have to last longer than Martin Luther King Day, but we are still committed to an indefinite hunger strike,” the ASU junior said.

The Senate will not meet again until after the holidays.

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