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Voter Rights or Voter Suppression – Which way forward?

Voter Rights or Voter Suppression – Which way forward?
June 18
12:15 2021

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

Advocates of voting rights from Texas, Arizona and New York provided an update on what’s happening amidst a surge of new laws to make voting harder and the For The People Act appears to be floundering at the EMS briefing on June 11. The “People’s Bill” aims to break through the restrictions and create greater space for voters to vote freely.

Elizabeth Hira, Spitzer Fellow and Policy Counsel, Brennan Center’s Democracy Program spoke on House Democrats’ top legislative priority, the H.R. 1 For the People Act of 2021 that is 817 pages.  There are two federal bills in front of the senate, which will be voted next week. She spoke on the content and context of these imperative bills.  The legislation — a wish list of policies voting rights advocates have urged lawmakers to adopt for years — rethinks the entire voting process: how people register to vote, how ballots are cast and how states conduct elections. The goal is to improve access, particularly for voters of color. 

The bill would require states to allow all voters the option of voting by mail, and it would mandate 15 consecutive days of in-person early voting for at least 10 hours a day. For example, minorities feel that this is an unfamiliar system and do not want to participate, and many women have changed their surnames because of marriage or divorce, or changed their transgender people.

Mimi Marziani, Chairman of the “Civil Rights Project” organization in Texas, said that there are many local restrictions in Texas, and there are also some bills that are about to be passed. These bills restrict people from voting, especially making it more difficult for disadvantaged groups to vote. They add barriers to other groups such as the people of English as a second language, people of color, and the disabled.

She hopes that the federal-level “People’s Bill” can be passed. So that these groups can get help from the Federation. TCRP are Texas lawyers and advocates for Texas communities, boldly serving the movement for equality and justice in and out of the courts. They envision a Texas where all communities thrive with dignity and justice, and without fear.

All Voting is a Local Arizona organization which strives for a democracy that works for all Arizonans, no matter who they are, where they live, or how they cast their ballots, said Alex Gulotta, All Voting is Local Campaign, Arizona.  At a time when we should be focused on making sure that anyone of any race or background or ZIP code has the ability to access the ballot, we’re actually going in the opposite direction, added Alex.

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