WASHINGTON — The following statement was released Jan. 14 by JACL Vice President of Public Affairs Sarah Baker and Education & Communications Coordinator Matthew Weisbly:
“The House of Representatives has now passed a voting rights and election reform package that includes key legislation from both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Amendment Act. These fundamental reforms affirm statements made previously this week by President Biden and Vice President Harris during a visit to Georgia to discuss voting rights.
“Key parts of this legislation will protect and ensure fair and open elections, including the use of a wide range of forms of identification for in-person voting, making Election Day a federal holiday, guaranteeing the right to mail-in vote, and requiring reasonable public notice for changes to voting policies.
“It additionally includes illumination around dark money, makes it harder for billionaires and special interest groups to buy elections, and much more.
“The JACL is thankful that President Biden and Vice President Harris are drawing attention to this issue, and we are happy to see Congress capitalize on this moment and push forward with this legislation. Voting rights are essential to the preservation of our democracy from the local to the national level.
“We hope that the Senate will recognize the right to vote as fundamental to our democracy and that they will pass legislation to enable the representation of as many Americans as possible in the electoral process.”