Republicans are doing everything in their power to make voting as difficult as possible. The gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a few years ago doesn’t help. That said, there are other remedies and it is really important that we push for voting rights right now.
The Democrats in the U.S. House have passed the For the People Act (HR1) that would expand voting rights nationwide, but it has gotten nowhere in the Senate, thanks to Mitch McConnell. Thankfully, there are a LOT of bills being proposed in state legislatures all over the country that would expand voting rights.
The Brennan Center tracks all the legislation and has identified 188 bills over the 29 states so far this year. The bills are tackling the following reforms:
🔹 enact automatic voter registration
🔹 offer same-day registration
🔹 expand absentee voting
🔹 re-enfranchising citizens with past convictions
🔹 expanding early voting
🔹 easing voter ID restrictions
You can read more detail about these bills at Brennan Center’s site HERE.
On the flip side, there are many states working to restrict voting in one way or another. The bulk of the bills in the highlighted states are hoping to impose stricter voter ID or absentee voting requirements.
I am struck by how many more bills have been proposed to EXPAND rights rather than to take them away. This is a major change just in the last couple of years. I’m so glad the Democrats have been spending more time and money on winning state legislature elections!
Ok. So now what?
If you live in any of these states and want to push to see this legislation come to fruition, I suggest you 1) call your state legislators to find out more about the bill, 2) let them know if you are in favor of the bill being passed, and 3) find others who are also passionate about voting rights and work with them to pressure the legislature to get the bill passed. For starters, I’d reach out to your local/state chapter of the ACLU or the League of Women Voters.
For those of you who’d like to search for legislation in your state yourself, start with a quick internet search using search terms like “how to look up proposed legislation in [your state]” and then, once you navigate to that page, use key words like “voting” “voter registration” etc. to find proposed legislation.
Thank you for taking action!