Democrats in Sacramento Take Steps to Make Voting Simpler

The electoral process is fundamental to the durability of America’s democratic structure.

And as the battle for fairer electoral laws rages on, right-wing politicians and activists claim to be responding to allegations of widespread electoral fraud. The left say they are gathering to fight a coordinated political offensive to restrict access to elections and increase reports of voter suppression.

Recently, lawmakers in some states, most notably Georgia and Florida, have taken steps to restrict access to and the right to vote for many Americans.

In California, however, policymakers and lawmakers are doing the opposite, making suggestions to simplify the voting process and increase access to the polls.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber cites the violent history of the oppression of voters in the South, which her parents endured and which was sometimes associated with murders. She says it is a priority to “ensure the right to vote”.

“I tell people all the time that no number is good unless it’s 100% on the turnout,” Weber told the Public Policy Institute of California. “Why didn’t 5 million vote? We need to find out where they are and what stopped them from doing so. “

In California law, an amendment to Senate Act (SB) 29 passed earlier this year was a bill in a broader legislative process to ensure the right to vote in vulnerable communities.

Before this amendment was passed, California law required all eligible voters for the November 3, 2020 statewide general election to be sent a ballot and a Secretary of State’s vote-by-mail tracking system to be used to ensure votes were counted become.

SB 29, which the governor signed in February, extended these requirements to all elections “proclaimed or conducted” before January 1, 2022.

A record number of voters took part in the 2020 elections in California. Some political observers attribute this increase to the voting system introduced last year.

“To maintain healthy democracy in California, it is important to encourage eligible voters to vote and to ensure that residents of the state have the tools to vote in every election,” the bill reads.

Senate Bill (SB) 583, introduced by California Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), would require the Secretary of State to register or pre-register eligible citizens to vote when they received the required filing from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) received.

Citizens who do not want to be registered can unsubscribe from the process altogether.

Newman emphasized the importance of access and simplification of the voter registration process.

“Our state has an estimated 4.6 million US citizens eligible to vote who have not yet registered,” Newman said. “Our duty as elected representatives is to make the process easier and more accessible for them.”

On April 27, the Senate’s Transport Committee passed SB 583 with 13 votes to 3. The Grants Committee has scheduled a hearing for May 10th.

Senate Draft (SB) 503, introduced by Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park), proposes that a signature that has sufficient characteristics with an earlier signature by the same voter be recognized as official on ballot papers.

Current law dictates that a signature must match exactly in order for it to be considered valid.

Disability Rights California (DRC), a nonprofit advocacy group that Advancing and protecting the rights of Californians with disabilities, advocated SB 503.

“Studies have shown that signature matches disproportionately affect voters with disabilities,” wrote Eric Harris, director of public policy for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in a letter.

“Voters with disabilities, including seniors, are more likely to vote by mail and have to sign their names on their ballots,” argued Harris. “A voter’s signature changes over time, and for people with disabilities, a signature can change almost every other time one is written. Some people with disabilities may have conditions that make it difficult to sign your name in the same way multiple times. “

The Senate Committee for Funds has currently submitted SB 503 and included the draft law in a bill called the “suspense file” by the legislature, in which it is waiting for further measures by the legislature.

At the federal level, legislators in Congress introduced two bills to expand voting rights, the For The People Act of 2021 and the John L. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

The For The People Act (HR1) proposes a three-pronged approach to expanding electoral access: voting, campaign finance and ethics.

Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington Bureau of the NAACP and senior vice president of advocacy and policy, compared the current struggle for voting rights with that of the civil rights movement in a press conference on HR1 and the John L. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

“If you look at some of those 1960s footage of the World’s CT Vivians, Joe Lowerys, and so many others who helped bring Americans to these registration sites, you will see that they are actually literally knocked to the ground.” Shelton said, referring to well-known civil rights activists.

The John L. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 or S.4263 would amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to restore the powers it lost to Holder after the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby. In this case, the US Supreme Court ruled that laws requiring states and local communities to first clarify changes to how their local laws are coordinated with the government are illegal.

“Well, we’ve gotten more refined in our disenfranchisement,” Shelton continued. “We want to make sure we stop this disenfranchisement all the way, and that’s why we believe that a bill named after John Lewis and a bill that speaks for the people are bills that need to be passed . “

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