Urge your Senators to support S. 1 and make the promise of democracy real for us all

Last November, despite the pandemic and a patchwork of barriers to the ballot box across the country, more than 159 million Americans voted in the 2020 elections, the highest rates seen in over a century. However, some elected officials want to roll back this progress by creating more barriers to vote. The right to vote is fundamental in a democracy and we must ensure that elections are accessible for all. The For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1) is a broad bill, that among its provisions, will protect the freedom to vote by establishing national standards for federal elections and ensuring that voter registration and voting options are equally accessible across the United States.

Urge your Senators to support the For the People Act and make the promise of democracy real for us all.

Background

The United States has a long history of restricting the right to vote. However, due to persistent advocacy, largely led by People of Color, and by virtue of significant social and political struggle, women, People of Color, and people with disabilities have won the right to vote. However, significant barriers still exist in many states and jurisdictions that restrict Americans’ ability to safely and freely cast their ballot.

Over the past two decades, Americans have increasingly encountered new barriers to vote which include deleting people from voter rolls, polling place closures and changes, and strict voter ID laws. Critically, these barriers disproportionately restrict the freedom to vote for Communities of Color, people with disabilities, older Americans, caregivers, lower-income Americans, young Americans, and new Americans.

Following historic turnout in the 2020 elections, some state politicians are trying to enact – and in some states have enacted – new restrictions on Americans' freedom to vote. Already this year, more than 360 laws that would restrict Americans' access to the ballot have been introduced in 47 states. As Americans continue to face barriers to exercise their right to vote, we must take steps to ensure that every voice is heard, and elections reflect the will of the people.   

In the 117th Congress, Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD-3) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1). After passing the House on March 3, 2021, the bill now awaits consideration in the Senate. The For the People Act is a broad bill that, among its provisions, would establish national standards for federal elections that, collectively, would create a transparent process that all Americans can trust. The bill would accomplish this by:

  • Increasing opportunities for eligible Americans to easily register to vote in federal elections through online voter registration, automatic registration when interacting with government agencies, and same-day voter registration.
  • Expanding early in-person voting and voting by mail to ensure that every American has equal access to these options no matter where they live.
  • Restoring the right to vote for formerly incarcerated people who have completed their sentences.
  • Creating an independent and nonpartisan process for redistricting U.S. House districts so that voters pick their leaders rather than leaders picking their voters.
  • Investing in modernizing America’s election systems and ensuring votes are recorded on paper ballots that can be accurately recounted.

Tell your Senators to support S. 1, the For the People Act.  

Jewish Values

Jewish tradition teaches us that the selection of leaders is not a privilege but a collective responsibility. Rabbi Yitzchak taught that “a ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted” (Babylonian Talmud, B’rachot 55a). In keeping with the insight of this teaching, it is the duty of all who cherish democracy to ensure that all Americans are afforded the opportunity to vote and have their votes counted. The Reform Jewish Movement, long believing that the freedom to vote is fundamental to American democracy, strongly supports legislation that protects the rights of all Americans to exercise their right to vote.

For More Information

You can email your elected officials through the form below or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to speak directly with their offices.

For more information on this issue, visit the RAC’s Voting Rights page or contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Josh Burg at 202.387.2800.

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