Senate Democrats Try to Fast-Track Freedom to Vote Act

In an effort to counter the wave of voting restrictions imposed by Republican state legislatures, a group of Senate Democrats will try to fast-track its new voting rights legislation that would set national standards for states to follow as they administer elections, The Hill reports.

Democrats will be trying to pass the sweeping changes to federal elections before facing possible GOP filibuster in the Senate, which is divided 50-50 between the two parties, with Republicans accusing them of power grab” that would rob states of their ability to model voting rules.

Called the Freedom to Vote Act, a version of election reform bill that is President Biden’s top priority, it allow all qualified voters to request mail-in ballots and give them at least 15 days of early voting, also allowing people to register to vote as late as Election Day.

The legislation released by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, along with several co-sponsors, including Senator Joe Manchin, builds on the sweeping For the People Act the Senate Republicans blocked in June, as well as the framework Manchin proposed earlier this year.

The new bill would implement an array of changes to federal elections, including and implementing an automatic online voter registration system in each state and making Election Day a federal holiday.

It also envisages mandating each state to offer same-day voter registration at all polling locations by 2024 calls for acceptance of broad range of cards and documents as proof of identification for in-person voting.

Sen. Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, stressed that the unprecedented attacks on the US democracy in all American states following the 2020 elections sked fot an immediate federal response.

She underlined that the Freedom to Vote Act would set basic national standards to make sure all US citizens can cast their ballots in a manner that works best for them, regardless of what zip code they live in.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday that a vote by the full Senate on the revised election reform plan could come as early as next week.

Some Democrats are prepared to urge Schumer to make an exception to the filibuster rule so that only a simple majority of the 100-seat Senate is required for passage of the bill if the Republicans refuse again to provide the support needed for the bill to clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

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