‘Right To Vote Act’ Introduced In US Senate By Jon Ossoff

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He garnered a lot of attention prior to his election in 2020 as one of the youngest senators to take office. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) just announced the introduction of legislation for the “first-ever affirmative federal voting rights guarantee” spurred on by his mentor Representative John Lewis (D-GA). Given the nation’s attention given to voting rights, the Democrats are leaning heavily for the new legislation as the state Republican legislators infest the nation with a swarm of democracy-eating voter restriction laws.

The senator’s office released information about the bill, stating that it would protect people from “laws that make it harder to cast a ballot.”

One provision would allow voters to make challenges in court, according to 11Alive News:

‘[A]ny policy that restricts ballot access [while] states attempting to restrict voting access will have to meet a high bar to justify any policy that makes it harder for U.S. citizens to participate in federal elections.’

‘The Right to Vote Act protects all actions necessary for Americans to participate in elections, including registering to vote, obtaining any ID required to vote, casting a ballot, and ensuring that ballot is counted.’

Ossoff released a statement about his bill, the Associated Press (AP) reported:

‘[The Act] will for the first time enshrine the right to vote in federal statute and allow U.S. citizens to challenge in court any policy that makes it harder for them to participate in elections.’

Then, Ossoff’s office also sent out a tweet about his proposed legislation:

‘Sen. @ossoff introduced the “Right to Vote Act,” which will *𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲* enshrine the right to vote in Federal statute and allow U.S. citizens to challenge in court any policy that makes it harder for them to participate in elections.’

At this point, we do not know if he had any support from the Republican senators. There are also two other bills to ensure voting rights to all Americans. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been the sticking point as he tried to retain the filibuster. The first bill:

 

‘HR1 (FOR THE PEOPLE’S ACT) is an ambitious proposal that would transform every aspect of elections and campaigns across the country, including how they’re financed. Written in 2017, when Democrats were out of power, it is what is often referred to as a messaging bill — a proposal for candidates to tout on the campaign trail and not crafted specifically to garner enough votes to pass a narrowly-divided Congress.’

 

Manchin likes “an update to the Voting Rights Act known as HR4, or the late John Lewis Voting Rights Act.  In contrast, the John Lewis Act is a relatively narrow bill. Its purpose is to remedy the 2013 Supreme Court ruling to block “racially discriminatory voting laws and redistricting proposals.” Some aspects in the HR1 “could always be added in if the John Lewis Act becomes Democrats’ primary vehicle for an election overhaul.”

The Brennan Center for Justice supported both bills. It reported that “14 states that have passed 22 laws putting new restrictions on when and how Americans vote” in response to Donald Trump’s big lie that the election was stolen from him.

‘[N]either bill would stop a trend of Republicans making it easier for partisan political officials to interfere in elections. In Georgia, for example, the GOP-controlled state legislature now will appoint most members of a board that can replace local election officials. In Texas, Republicans are considering legislation that would make it easier for a judge to overturn an election.’

It was not clear what kind of across-the-aisle support for the bill Ossoff might be able to muster, with several Democratic voting rights bills running up against the Republicans.

 

The senator also indicated that New York Representative Mondaire Jones was releasing a companion piece of legislation in the House.


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