by Robin Kemp
The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to pass a resolution approving the $3.5 trillion budget bill–including a $1 trillion bipartisan bill for infrastructure upgrades–as well as H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
The vote was 222-212 along party lines on the budget resolution.
The voting rights bill named for the late Georgia 5th District congressman and civil rights leader passed Tuesday on a straight party-line vote of 219-212 with 1 Democratic member, Rep. Jim Costa (D-16) of California not voting.
The bill, which goes to the Senate, would:
- prevent redistricting as a method of diluting minority votes
- require meaningful public notice in advance of proposed changes to voting procedures
- strengthen voter protections for citizens who don't speak English
- prevent cutbacks on advance, early, and absentee voting timeframes
- end prohibitions on giving food and water to voters waiting in line
- impose 10-year federal preclearance in states or political subdivisions that have had certain numbers of votong rights violations in the previous 25 years
It also would put the Attorney General, instead of the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, in charge of court-appointed election observers.
Rep. David Scott (D-13), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, cosponsored the bill.
"Our votes are the most powerful non-violent tools we have to create a more perfect union," Scott said. "As demagogues and bad actors stake their claim in attempts to overturn the voice of the American people and undermine fair, accurate and complete elections, we must insist with renewed fervor that every voter’s voice is heard starting with improved access to the ballot box. For voters today, voters tomorrow, and all those who sacrificed so we could cast a ballot freely and fairly, I was proud today to vote for passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the full strength of the Voting Rights Act and protect the sacred right to vote for all Americans."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Wednesday the bill strengthens voting rights against GOP attempts at nullification "in their Jim Crow world that they want to resurrect."
Pelosi said a vote on the full infrastructure bill should happen by September 27.
Nearly 95% of all Georgians eligible to vote have registered to do so, according to the latest Federal Election Commission report. That's a 24.5% increase between 2016 and 2020.
Of the 7,194,889 active voters in Georgia eligible to vote in the November 2020 general election, only 5,023,812 turned out--that's 69.8%--and turnout is the name of the game in winning elections. However, 8% more Georgia voters turned out in 2020 than in 2016.
- 2,704,002 early/advance in-person ballots were cast and counted
- 1,311,361 mail-in ballots were cast and counted
- 1,759,036 mail-in ballots were sent out, meaning 74.8% were returned in time to be counted
- Mail-in ballots accounted for 26.1% of voter turnout
- 99.6% of mail-in ballots received were counted, with 0.4% (4,804) rejected statewide
- 980,627 ballots were cast and counted in person on Election Day
- 10.8% of registered voters in Georgia were dropped for criminal convictions or because the voter was incarcerated
1,060,235 Georgia voters -- that's 14.7% of all Georgia voters -- were sent confirmation notices about their registration status.
Of those notices, only 72,979 voters returned responses that were validated. 186,456 notices were returned as undeliverable. 4,018 of the confirmation notices returned were declared invalid.
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