Congressional Democrats have unveiled a bill that would dramatically alter the political landscape in America.
The bill proposed by a pair of Oregon Democrats, Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, would require that the ability to vote by mail be expanded to every voter in America in federal elections, according to a news release on Wyden’s site, which said the legislation aims “to massively expand vote-at-home ballot access, provide voters with pre-paid ballot envelopes and enact automatic voter registration.”
“Our democracy is stronger when every American can vote, without standing in ridiculous lines or having to take time off work or school to exercise their Constitutional rights,” Wyden said in a statement.
“To get the big things done that really improve Americans’ lives, our country needs the government to represent all Americans. Oregonians know that voting at home is a time-tested, secure and accessible way to vote. It’s high time the rest of the country had the chance to vote the way we do.”
“The individual right to vote, the cornerstone of our democracy, is under threat in communities across America. Last year we saw a widespread expansion of vote-at-home access as a safe and secure way to participate during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Blumenauer said. “We should continue to make voting easier, not harder.”
The so-called Vote at Home Act, which 13 Democratic senators joined Wyden in co-sponsoring, requires that “Not later than 2 weeks before the date of any election for Federal office, each State shall mail ballots to individuals who are registered to vote in such election.”
The proposal allows states to set the deadlines for when ballots would be returned.
It also provides the U.S. Postal Service with funds “to cover costs associated with mailing ballots both to and from voters in federal elections,” according to the news release on Wyden’s website.
“This would allow states to save money by transitioning away from polling stations and reduce a major barrier for voters with the federal government absorbing the cost associated with USPS delivery.”
The bill also revamps voter registration, which is now overseen by states.
“States would be required to ensure that each citizen who provides identifying information to the state motor vehicle authority is automatically registered to vote,” the release said.
As Democrats get behind expanding voting by mail, Republicans are focused on election integrity.
“A large percentage of my constituents have lost faith in the integrity of our election system,” Georgia state Sen. Larry Walker, vice chair of the state’s GOP Senate caucus, told Politico. “So we’re going to try to address some things that we feel like can restore the public’s confidence in the system.”
He said proposals that would require voters to provide identification for mail-in voting would not limit turnout.
“I don’t think any of these ideas are burdensome or overly restrictive or lead to what I would consider voter suppression,” he said.
“It isn’t a secret that further election law changes must be made,” said Pennsylvania state Rep. Seth Grove, whose state saw a vast conflict over the 2020 election and was planning for more than a dozen legislative hearings on election laws.
Republican U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Tim Scott of South Carolina are calling for the creation of a 2020 Bipartisan Advisory Committee on the grounds that any future legislation must better understand the concerns expressed about the November elections.
“Our system of government is based on free and fair elections, run by individual states,” Rounds said in a news release. “I remain confident in the security of South Dakota’s election system. Still, the fact remains that many Americans are concerned about the integrity of other states’ election processes.
“A bipartisan commission will allow us to examine the 2020 election and restore Americans’ faith in our federal election process.”
“We cannot move forward without looking back and scrutinizing the issues that led to millions of Americans losing trust in our election system,” Scott added in a release.
“While every election has a modicum of fraud, the circumstances around the pandemic led multiple states to make rushed and perhaps ill-planned changes to their election systems weeks ahead of the presidential election. Simply put, Congress needs to act in a bipartisan fashion to examine the missteps — intentional or not — made this year in state legislatures across the country.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.