Catholics for Choice Urges Congress to Protect Voting Rights, Pass the For the People Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act
WASHINGTON – Catholics for Choice, which uplifts and amplifies the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom, urged the U.S. Congress to immediately protect voting rights and repair American democracy by passing the For the People Act (H.R. 1/S. 1) and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act (H.R. 4). This comes as the former bill is stalled in the Senate, the latter languishes in the House awaiting reintroduction, and the House Subcommittee on Elections holds a hearing on free and fair ballot access today.
The For the People Act would enact sweeping and comprehensive structural reforms to voting rights, the redistricting process, campaign financing, and election security. It includes provisions for mandatory nationwide same-day voter registration, automatic voter registration, and early voting; ending partisan gerrymandering; and restricting voter-roll purges. The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act would restore and strengthen certain parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013 – most notably the preclearance formula, which required certain jurisdictions with a history of voting rights violations to get federal preapproval before making any changes to elections.
Catholics for Choice President Jamie L. Manson said:
“The right to vote is sacred and fundamental right upon which not just the functioning, but the very existence, of American democracy depends. Our vote is our voice, and in this last election, voters across the country were forced to overcome rampant and widespread voter suppression and a tidal wave of special-interest dark money in order to make their voices heard. The For the People Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act are the most critically important pieces of voting legislation in a generation; they will make our democracy fairer, stronger, and more inclusive. Congress should pass them immediately.”
The 2020 election saw the highest levels of voter turnout in over a century, despite the deadly global pandemic. But since the election, legislators in 43 states have introduced more than 250 bills to restrict citizens’ access to the ballot box, including cutting down or eliminating early voting, reducing polling places and voter registration opportunities, and curtailing mail-in voting. The impact of these restrictions would disproportionately fall on voters of color, who have also been consistently targeted by lies about nonexistent “voter fraud.”
“From gerrymandering to big-money politics to voter suppression, laws that restrict democracy also restrict its diversity, preventing Black and brown voters not only from casting their ballots but also from running for office and being represented in government. The For the People Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act are important safeguards to help ensure that our democracy both reflects the will of, and looks like, the American people.”
Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect, and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.