LANSING, MICH. - The United States Senate met Wednesday, Oct. 20 to discuss and potentially vote on a bill focused on voting rights and election procedures.
The Freedom to Vote Act did not even pass the debate vote with a vote of 49 for and 51 against. While the bill was supported by most of the Democratic senators, all 50 Republican senators voted against the bill and a filibuster followed.
The bill has many different provisions inside including:
-Allowing everyone to vote through mail
-Automatic voter registration and same day voter registration
-Making Election Day a public holiday
-Easy access to voting for individuals with disabilities
-More types of identification required to vote
-Penalties for voter intimidation and misleading information related to voting
-Restoring federal voting rights to released formerly incarcerated citizens
-Banning partisan gerrymandering
-States required to have transparent post-election audits
The above provisions are just a few parts of what is on the bill. The Freedom to Vote Act is not new to the U.S. Senate. It is a revised version of a past act called the For the People Act.
The Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer voted against the bill in order to bring it back in the future.
The Senate is split and so are other individuals over this bill. Those in favor of the bill, like Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, were bothered by it not even passing the debate vote.
"The Freedom to Vote Act is one of the most consequential and necessary laws that our Representatives and Senators can pass, right now," Byrum said. "It is not and should not be a controversial proposal."
Republican Sen. James Lankford opposed the bill and said on FaceBook that it will take powers away from the states and give more power to the federal government concerning elections.
Those in opposition also worry that by allowing more access to mail-in ballots, voter fraud could occur.
In order to continue discussion on this bill, the Senate will need to have a majority of 60 votes.
In the meantime, Schumer plans to bring forward the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to the Senate floor by next week. This act is separate from the Freedom to Vote Act, and the John Lewis Act would update the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
This bill will have a harder time in the Senate, due to the fact that not all of the Democratic Senators support the update.
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