Morgantown to consider support for national voting rights bill

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown City Council will have an official endorsement of a piece of national legislature on it’s regular meeting agenda.

During Morgantown City Council’s Committee of the Whole Tuesday, a resolution that would have the city endorse H.R. 1 and S.R. 1 were approved by council with very little opposition. The endorsement, is being done with the hopes of getting extra public support for a bill that is expected to be heavily contested in national politics.

“This is a watershed moment in American History, in which federal action is required to ensure free and fair elections when all eligible citizens can participate,” said President of the Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP Dr. Jerry Carr about H.R. 1 and S.R. 1.

H.R. 1 and S.R. 1, known as a combined “For The People Act,” was introduced to the newly elected United States Congress by Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD) earlier this year. These bills would include several provisions in regards to voting rights, campaign financing, gerrymandering and the endorsement of Washington D.C. as a statehood. For members of council, national standards on these provisions are what prompts the resolution, with the hopes of raising voter turnout.

“As more efforts are made on the state or the federal level to ensure voting equality, that more folks locally will feel inspired to want to participate in our local governments,” said Morgantown Deputy Mayor Rachel Fetty.

For members of Morgantown City Council, this is not the first time in 2021 that they have endorsed a state level or national level initiative. Earlier in the spring, council passed a resolution endorsing the CROWN Act, a non-discrimination ordinance proposed by Monongalia County Delegate Danielle Walker. While the resolution is a simple endorsement, council members all believed any type of support for the measure is appropriate.

“I think that it’s a good thing that we’re going to support it, that we should do that, so I say let’s move it to the agenda and then we’ll vote on it,” said Morgantown City Councilor Barry Wendell.

Much like the formal endorsement of the CROWN Act, the resolution will still need to be discussed during a regular meeting of Morgantown City Council. After passing on two readings, the resolution can be approved by council and it turn, expressing formal support for a bill that appears to have national ramifications.

“It’s very, very important that we have equal representation or that we have adequate representation of all the interested parties in the city,” said Fetty.