Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

The pending bill seeks to limit, among other things, ‘gerrymandering’, make voting easier and end ‘dark money’ donations.

Democrats in the United States Congress demand a new vote bill they say will protect access to the ballot, especially for minority and low-income voters, at a time when Republican-dominated states are experiencing a wave of new restrictions.

These restrictions are driven by lawmakers who support former President Donald Trump false claims that his election defeat in 2020 was the result of widespread fraud.

Here are the key elements of the Democrats’ proposed bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Thursday, but likely to face defeat in the Senate, where Republicans are ready to block a measure they call a biased coup:

Limit ‘gerrymandering’

At present, governors and individual state legislators have the primary responsibility for drafting border for the U.S.’s 435 congressional districts. Both political parties do this to maximize their own benefits.

The bill seeks to end biased redistribution by setting standards, while providing judicial remedies for states’ failure to comply.

Make voice easier

Election Day would become a federal holiday, giving voters more time to get to their polls.

States will also have to establish automatic voter registration systems through their motor vehicle agencies, voters will have at least 15 consecutive days to vote before election day, and every voter in the country will be able to request a postal letter.

The legislation will impose minimum standards on how people can be removed from voting lists and how states provide “download boxes” for their early ballots. Uniform national standards will also be set for voter identification requirements.

Tighten financial contribution rules

“Dark money” donations to candidates would have to be announced and the transfer of funds between organizations to hide the identity of contributors would be banned.

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

Improve election security

New protection for non-partisan state and local officials administering federal elections will be provided at a time when those officials face up increasing number of threats of violence.

There will be greater protection measures for election records and infrastructure to secure ballot papers and voting systems.

Bringing back U.S. state oversight

The U.S. Department of Justice will once again oversee changes to the electoral law in states that have had a history of discrimination.

That power was weakened in a 2013 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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