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WASHINGTON – Hunger strikers for voting rights legislation began to feel the health consequences on the second day of their strike outside the U.S. Capitol, but remained committed.
“I’m feeling very tired, cold and hungry, obviously, but committed to being here,” Un-PAC co-founder Shana Gallagher told Fox News Digital. Gallagher said she’s also “having trouble sleeping” and experiencing “really bad” headaches.
West Virginia graduate student Dominic DiChiacchio said “the hunger is starting, but it’s still so early, so the morale is still really high.”
One of the around 40 youth hunger strikers had to leave to see a doctor after feeling lightheaded, but everyone else remained okay, Gallagher told Fox News Digital. The group has their vitals checked twice daily.
The youth activists are planning to strike indefinitely unless voting rights legislation passes the Senate. But after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema reaffirmed that she would not vote to remove the filibuster, which would have meant the upper chamber only needed a simply majority to pass the voting rights bills, the legislation appears to have no immediate path forward.
Gallagher and DiChiacchio felt both frustrated and motivated.
“It was definitely disappointing…there’s really no excuse for a senator to not support those things, whether it be Sinema or any of the senators who haven’t supported getting this legislation done,” Gallagher said.
“So, we’re disheartened, but we’re committed and we’ll stay on this hunger strike until the bill passes,” the Un-PAC co-founder continued.
Similarly, DiChiacchio felt it was “frustrating, but part of the fight.”
“It’s urgent we need to get this passed. I mean, that’s why we’re putting our bodies on the line out here in the cold, starving, the hunger pains, the mental pains, the mental fog. That’s nothing compared to losing our democracy,” DiChiacchio said.
The legislation, if passed, would allow for same-day voter registration, establish Election Day as a national holiday and expand mail-in voting. Advocates have said the provisions are vital to expanding voting access and fighting state-level voting restrictions, while critics have argued that some provisions would open elections to fraud.
On the group’s last hunger strike, DiChiacchio lasted six days. He said this time he’s willing to do more. “No matter what it takes, two days, twenty days,” the West Virginia student said.