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Arizonans participate in nationwide hunger strike for voting rights legislation

A hunger strike is once again being used to put pressure on Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to help pass federal voting protections.

Three groups began a hunger strike in front of the Arizona Capitol building on Friday in support of the Freedom to Vote Act.

Representatives from Unite Here Local 11, college student group Un-PAC and Case Action, are participating.

Marilyn Wilbur is an Iraq War veteran who felt compelled to join the strike. She says even though the odds are stacked against the bill, she feels the nationwide protests will send a message to push it forward.

“There’s other veterans here with me, there’s workers here with me, there are organizers with me here on this hunger strike, y’know. We are going to do it,” said Wilbur.

Un-PAC, which focuses on taking dark money out of politics, began a 15-day hunger strike in December, traveling from the Arizona capitol to Washington, D.C. 

The group ended the strike after national voting legislation appeared to gain momentum. But they have resumed the strike after Senator Sinema reaffirmed that she is unwilling to circumvent filibuster rules to pass the legislation.

Daniel Ortega is a junior at Arizona State University and an organizer for Un-PAC.

The Show spoke with him from Washington about why he feels this passionate about voting rights and why he thinks a hunger strike will make the difference.

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Vaughan Jones is the weekend reporter for KJZZ, and a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism, with a minor in music. As a Phoenix native, Jones’s dream is to serve his community by covering important stories in the metropolitan area.He spent two years as music director at Blaze Radio, ASU’s student-run radio station. His passion for radio stems from joining Blaze his freshman year as a DJ.When he is not working, Jones can be found writing music with his band, playing video games with his friends, or watching his favorite Phoenix-area sports teams.