At a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on voting rights today, Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) criticized well-documented voter suppression tactics in states across the country and demanded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hold a vote on H.R. 1, the For the People Act and H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, two House-passed bills that would protect and expand the right to vote.
“The first piece of legislation that the Democratic Caucus brought to the floor of the house in 2019 was H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which was a broad anti-corruption and clean elections bill that addressed many things including voter access,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “Subsequent to that, we brought H.R. 4 to restore the Voting Rights Act.”
Sarbanes continued: “We are moving on this side of the aisle and this side of the Capitol to try to deal with the issue of voter access…. We want to plus up, reinforce and establish things that can improve and enhance access and the franchise in this country.”
Sarbanes concluded: “If we can change what is now really an obstacle course for people getting to the ballot box … by offering these different opportunities and those include…. increased online voter registration, expanding early and absentee voting, [and] requiring that states at least offer the opportunity for voting by mail. In other words, we should be exploring every possible opportunity to make it easier for people to register and to vote in this country.”