S.2747 - Freedom to Vote Act
The Freedom to Vote Act was proposed on September 14, 2021
One day, Zayna was so preoccupied in studying for her test that she completely forgot to register to vote! However, this won't be a problem with the Freedom to Vote Act. Through the DMV, she will be automatically registered and will be ready to vote on Election Day
WHY THIS POLICY?
This policy is the direct outcome of the previously proposed “For the People Act”, which was originally blocked by a filibuster, and is the direct response to the 2020 election fraud crisis.
The “For the People Act” was opposed by all 50 Republican Senators, but the bill needed 60 votes to align with Senate filibuster rules. Senate Democrats looked for ways to include components of this act into new voting legislation that would appeal to Republicans: In this case the Freedom to Vote Act.
This act ensures access to the ballot box, promotes impartial vote-counting, and limits partisan gerrymandering.
WHAT DOES THIS POLICY PROVIDE?
Automatic voter registration through a person’s DMV and ensures all voters have access to online voter registration.
Offers at least 15 consecutive days of early in-person voting, including two weekends.
Offers same-day voter registration at all polling locations by 2024.
Establishes no-excuse mail-in voting for all voters in federal elections, with free postage for returning ballots, accessible drop boxes and an easy way to cure deficient ballots.
Counts all mail-in ballots sent by Election Day and received within seven days of an election.
Count all provisional ballots for eligible races in a county, regardless of the precinct they were cast in.
Makes Election Day a national holiday.
Felons that have served their time can vote again.
Underserved communities will receive protections when voting.
This bill was proposed by Senate Democrats, who are fully on board with this policy. Unlike the For the People Act, this policy is focused on bipartisanship in order to receive support from 10 Senate Republicans.
Republicans do not favor this policy as federal legislation would preempt restrictive state voting rules that previously have benefited the Republican party. They believe that this new policy will skew voting rules in the Democratic Party’s favor.
If the legislation does not earn the support of at least ten Republican senators, then Senate Democrats need to be willing to take extra steps to overcome a Republican filibuster. They can either (1) let the compromise bill fail, or (2) Carve out for voting rights legislation
The main function of the bill is the protection of the right to vote for many communities. When looking at the historical context of voting barriers and restrictions with poorer communities, African Americans, Native Americans, people with disabilities, etc. there are many ways that their vote may not go through. It also protects the legibility of elections by: establishing federal protections to insulate election officials from partisan interference, making intimidation of election voters a crime, and not allowing partisan poll workers to question a voter’s qualifications.
The 15th amendment states that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State…” But today, as many states and parties continue to find loopholes in the constitution to administer elections for power, many make the argument that votes have in fact been denied. This voting bill would be impactful towards increasing enfranchisement for underserved communities and would address loopholes, securing a more democratic voting process for our nation.
Source Links https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/ https://www.k95country.com/2021/09/15/senate-democrats-introduce-new-voting-rights-bill/ https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/breaking-down-freedom-vote-act