Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today submitted the following statement to the Congressional Record on the For the People Act:
“Today, the Senate is voting on whether to consider the For the People Act – also known as S. 1. I encourage all my colleagues to support Senate consideration of this crucial election reform bill.
This legislation would put a stop to new state laws across the country that are making it harder for Americans to register to vote and to cast their ballots.
So far this year, at least 389 bills to suppress the ability to vote have been introduced in 48 states. At least 22 of these new bills have become law in 14 states.
These newly enacted laws undermine the right to vote from every direction:
- They create new and unnecessarily strict voter ID laws, which make it harder to vote for the 11 percent of U.S. citizens that do not have a government-issued photo ID, many of whom are elderly or low-income.
- They reduce the timeframes for early voting, a critical method of voting for many working Americans.
- And they impose severe limitations on voting by mail, a strategy that many states have used to significantly increase voter turnout over recent years.
And these attacks have shown no signs of letting up.
In Texas, a restrictive voting bill is pending before the state legislature that continues to get worse the longer it is considered. In its current form, the Texas bill would cut early voting hours, ban drive-thru voting, limit vote-by mail and add new voter ID requirements for mail-in ballots, along with a host of other restrictions on the right to vote.
These restrictions are harmful to our democracy. We should be working to make it easier for more people to vote, not making it harder.
The right to vote is a bedrock principle of our democracy. Unfortunately, many states are using unfounded conspiracy theories of voter fraud as an excuse to pass laws to weaken that fundamental right.
That’s why we must pass the For the People Act. This bill will help to ensure that all Americans are able to vote, free of unnecessary hurdles and burdens.
It includes a number of commonsense reforms that anyone who believes in the health of our democracy cannot possibly oppose in good conscience.
For example, one provision of S. 1 requires that states allow voters to register to vote online. In an age when you can cash a check, buy a car and conduct a doctor’s appointment entirely online, there is no reason a voter should not be able to register to vote online.
The bill also invests in the health of our election infrastructure by securing our voting systems against foreign attacks. The security of our voting systems should not be a partisan issue.
In addition, S. 1 would ban partisan gerrymandering and require states to draw their congressional districts using independent redistricting commissions, like we do in California. Voters should be able to choose their representatives; representatives should not be able to choose their voters.
We need to empower the voice of every American in our democracy. We need to make these commonsense reforms to our elections.
I understand that some of my colleagues have disagreements with specific parts of the bill. I would urge them to let the legislation come before the Senate and seek to amend it. But to deny this body the ability to even debate and consider such an important bill as this is unacceptable.
The time for these reforms is now. I hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support this important legislation.”###