Senate Democrats unveil new voting rights bill

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A group of Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled new voting rights legislation in another attempt by the party to pass sweeping changes in the federal election amid obstruction from the GOP.

The new bill, called the Freedom to Vote Act, was released by the senator. Amy klobucharAmy Klobuchar Hillicon Valley – Senators unveil bill to share data on social media Senators unveil bipartisan bill forcing social media giants to open data to researchers Senators are stepping up pressure on Amazon, data brokers during the PLUS hearing (D-Minn.) And several co-sponsors, builds on a framework proposed earlier this year by Sen. Joe manchinJoe ManchinHouse Takes On Trump With Bill To Tackle Presidential Abuse Of Power Biden Launches Global Democracy Summit, Acknowledges Challenges In US The Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Uber – Senate is busy except for Build Back Better PLUS (DW.Va.) as well as the radical For the People Act, which Senate Republicans blocked in June.

While narrower than previous drafts, the 592-page bill would still enact major reforms to U.S. voting systems, including efforts to make voter registration easier and set a minimum 15-day early voting window. that states must respect. It would also make election day a federal holiday.

The legislation would also require every state to offer same-day voter registration at all polling stations by 2024, and calls for a wide range of cards and documents to be considered proof of identity for voting. in person.

“After the 2020 election in which more Americans voted than ever before, we have seen unprecedented attacks on our democracy in states across the country,” Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Rules Committee, said on Tuesday.

“These attacks demand an immediate federal response,” she added, noting that the bill “will set basic national standards to ensure that all Americans can vote in the way that suits them best, whatever regardless of the zip code they live in. ”

The bill also seeks to target gerrymandering, by prohibiting states from drawing political boundaries the “intention of which has the effect of materially favoring or disadvantaging any political party”.

The bill comes after 18 different states this year passed 30 different laws that would make voting more difficult, according to an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. It targets a number of practices adopted in Republican-led states.

Democrats have claimed the wave of voting restrictions is the result of former President TrumpDonald TrumpOn The Money – Senate risks Trump’s wrath with debt ceiling deal Banking regulator erupts in partisan split as Democrats turn Biden thug to appear on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ on Friday MORE‘s claims repeatedly that widespread voter fraud – which is extremely rare in U.S. elections – cost her the November election.

Conversely, Republicans have remained steadfast in their support for new state-level bills, arguing that the laws strengthen the integrity of elections.

The new bill still faces an uphill battle in the Senate to achieve the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP obstruction, and includes efficiency measures that have been passed by a number of states as well as more measures. controversial.

The bill would require states to provide automatic voter registration, which typically requires those who visit the Department of Motor Vehicles or other state agency to opt out of registration to vote. At least 18 states already have such a program.

But the bill would also require states to allow those convicted of a felony to vote as soon as they have served their prison sentence.

States have a patchwork of limitations on when those with a criminal record can vote, with many seeking to limit the right to vote until former incarcerates pay the remaining fines and fees – keeping much to the ballot gap because interest makes payment more difficult. the balance.

Such a move could restore the right to vote to around 5.2 million people, according to data from The Sentencing Project. This includes major swing states like Florida, where voters in 2018 approved a referendum to remove voting restrictions on people with criminal records, only so the Republican-led legislature can say such a right won’t. could be granted only after payment of fines and costs.

The bill also tackles another area often targeted in recent bills passed by Republican state legislatures, requiring election officials to keep ballot boxes for those who requested postal ballots – leaving ballot boxes accessible from the day they send the ballot papers until polling day.

It also requires jurisdictions to have one drop box for every 15,000 votes cast in the last presidential election – a standard designed to target cities that limited the number of available drop boxes or made them difficult to access.

The bill also targets the removal of voters’ lists recently seen in states like Indiana and Ohio, limiting the ability of states to remove voters from the lists due to inactivity or non-response to mailings. .

Pressure on Democrats to protect voting rights has only increased in recent months, following a Supreme Court ruling in June that upheld two Arizona election laws.

Lawyers and liberal lawmakers decried the decision, arguing that it violated section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Under this section, states and other jurisdictions are prohibited from implementing election laws that discriminate against Americans on the basis of race, color, or membership in a minority language group.

In addition to the revised bill that was introduced on Tuesday, Democrats are also considering the passage by the Senate of the John R. Lewis Advancement of Voting Rights Act, which was introduced and passed by the House in August before the summer vacation of the house.

Named after the late Georgian congressman and champion of voting rights John lewisJohn LewisHarris Uses Democracy Summit To Call For Voting Rights Laws Stephen Curry Gives Senate Plenary Press On Voting Rights Biden Launches Global Democracy Summit And Acknowledges Challenges In US MORE (D), the legislation would reinstate and update the federal preclearance process in the Voting Rights Act which was gutted by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling.

Previously, preclearance required states and localities with a history of racial discrimination to obtain approval from the Department of Justice before implementing any changes to the voting process.

Bill Lewis changes the formula to a more modern standard, now judging states and municipalities on their voting record over the past 25 years.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Moderate Manchin, who, along with other moderate Democratic senators, is against even filibuster reform for voting rights, as well as Sens. Tim kaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineManchin quietly discusses Senate rule changes with Republicans Liberty University professor accused of alleged sexual assault and kidnapping of Senate parliamentary student threatens Senate spending bill White House PLUS (Virginia.), Jon testerJonathan (Jon) TesterThe Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Uber – Senate busy except Build Back Better Democratic concerns grow over SALT capping policy Senate votes against Biden’s vaccine mandate for companies PLUS (Montreal) and Raphael WarnockRaphael Warnock Abrams and O’Rourke give Democrats and women a chance perilous Pennsylvania choice, Trump’s non-strategy takes another blow Senate to pass resolution to quash Biden vaccine mandate MORE (Georgia.).

Updated at 12:11

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