FACTBOX-What's in U.S. Democrats voting-rights bill?

by Reuters
Thursday, 13 January 2022 18:30 GMT

Jan 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Democrats are pushing for a new voting-rights bill that they say would protect access to the ballot, particularly for minority and low-income voters, at a time when Republican-dominated states are enacting a wave of new restrictions.

Those restrictions have been driven by lawmakers supportive of Republican former President Donald Trump's false claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud.

Here are the main elements of the Democrats' proposed bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Thursday but faces likely defeat in the Senate, where Republicans are poised to block a measure they call a partisan power grab:

ENDS 'GERRYMANDERING'

Currently, governors and individual state legislatures have the primary responsibility of drawing up boundaries for the United States' 435 congressional districts. Both political parties do so to maximize their own advantages. The bill attempts to end partisan redistricting by setting standards while providing judicial remedies for states' failure to comply.

MAKES VOTING EASIER

Election Day would become a federal holiday, giving voters more time to get to their voting stations; states would have to establish automatic voter registration systems through their motor vehicle agencies; voters would have at least 15 consecutive days to cast ballots before Election Day and every voter in the United States would be able to request a mail-in ballot.

The legislation would impose minimum standards on how people could be removed from voting rolls and how states provide "drop boxes" for their early voting ballots.

Uniform national standards would be set for voter identification requirements.

TIGHTENS CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION RULES

"Dark money" donations to candidates would have to be disclosed and the transfer of funds between organizations to hide the identity of contributors would be outlawed.

Online political advertisements would have the same disclosure requirements as ads on other media.

ENHANCES ELECTION SECURITY

New protections for nonpartisan state and local officials administering federal elections would be provided at a time when those officials face increasing numbers of threats of violence.

There would be greater safeguards for election records and infrastructure to secure ballots and voting systems.

BRINGS BACK FEDERAL OVERSIGHT OF STATES

The U.S. Department of Justice would resume oversight of election law changes in states that have had a history of discrimination. That power was weakened in a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. (Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.