Crist Stands Strong to Protect the Right to Vote, House Passes Comprehensive Voting Rights Legislation

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D–St. Petersburg) released this statement following House passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, comprehensive voting rights legislation that improves access to the ballot, safeguards the integrity of our elections, and protects our democracy from those who wish to undermine it. The bill also restores the full force of the Voting Rights Act to require states and localities with a history of voter discrimination to obtain a federal pre-clearance before changing their voting laws. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

“The right to vote is the bedrock of our democracy – the very principle on which this country was founded,” said Rep. Crist. “Horrifyingly, that right has come under attack as Republican-led states across the country pass sweeping voter suppression laws in an attempt to silence your voice.

“That’s why today’s vote in the House of Representatives was so critical. The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act makes common sense reforms to protect the will of the people and safeguard our democracy. All Americans have the right to make their voices heard, and attacks on the votes of seniors, minorities, and college students will not stand. Under this bill, all American adults will have access to the ballot box, and the security and integrity of our elections will be strengthened. This is about protecting America’s most sacred institutions and democratic principles. Politicians should answer to you, the people. That is why free and fair elections are so important and why we’re not going to let them silence your voice.”

More specifically, the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act:

  • Modernizes voter registration by allowing automatic registration at state DMVs, access to online registration, and same-day registration;
  • Expands access to the ballot by requiring early voting periods of at least two weeks, setting a national standard for no-excuse voting by mail, and making Election Day a federal holiday;
  • Protects the right of every citizen to vote by restoring voting rights for returning citizens and improving access for voters with disabilities and those living oversees;
  • Establishes a national standard for voter identification that allows for the use of a wide range of forms of ID;
  • Prevents wrongful voter purges by requiring that the removal of voters be done using objective and reliable evidence;
  • Safeguards the integrity of our elections by restricting the removal of election officials for political purposes, requiring the use of paper ballots, upgrading voting systems, putting election cybersecurity standards in place, and requiring post-election audits;
  • Ends the practice of partisan gerrymandering and increases transparency in the redistricting process;
  • Strengthens campaign finance laws with inclusion of the DISCLOSE Act, which requires the disclosure of dark money in elections;
  • Combats election interference with inclusion of the HONEST Ads Act, which promotes digital transparency by requiring that online political advertisements have the same transparency standards as those on TV and radio;
  • Includes the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which restores the full force of the Voting Rights Act by requiring states and localities with a history of voter discrimination to obtain a federal pre-clearance before changing their voting laws;
  • Protects the voting rights of Native Americans by improving voter registration on tribal lands, setting minimum standards for polling places on tribal lands, allowing the use of tribal IDs as valid forms of identification, and establishing a Native American Voting Task Force.

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