Two Democratic lawmakers are proposing legislation aimed at securing voting rights for felons, which could affect nearly 4.6 million Americans, a press release noted.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., announced the Inclusive Democracy Act on Wednesday outside the United States Capitol with Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt.
The bill would guarantee the right to vote in federal elections for all Americans, regardless of criminal conviction. It also requires those with past convictions to receive notice they are now eligible to vote.
"We must be just as relentless in protecting and expanding access to the ballot box, including for incarcerated citizens," Pressley said. "They have not forfeited their rights of citizenship, and so they deserve to have, to have their voices heard and to have access to the ballot."
Welch, meanwhile, suggested that Republicans are engaging in a "significant effort" to keep people from the ballot box by passing discriminatory voter laws, like limits to early and mail-in voting.
"If you can't win at the ballot box, don't let people vote. That has been a tactic in many of the states around the country, so it's not just here in Congress," Welch explained. "We're committed to full access to the ballot box as a birthright in this country."
Currently, 48 states have restrictions on which people with felonies can vote, with the details about how that is decided and carried differing significantly depending upon the state.
Liberal and left-wing activists have noted that the laws disproportionately affect Black Americans.
Black Americans make up around 38.6% of the incarcerated population but are around 13% of the total U.S. population, according to data collected earlier this month by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Pressley's bill is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled House. Still, even if it eventually becomes law, the bill will likely face legal challenges surrounding its constitutionality, as states control elections.
Luca Cacciatore ✉
Luca Cacciatore, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is based in Arlington, Virginia, reporting on news and politics.
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