The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a voting-rights bill co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville.
Underwood said that the Voting Rights Advancement Act, H.R. 4, would restore protections of opportunities to vote and participate in the political process, and urged the Senate to take it up, according to a news release. The legislation comes after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 struck down protections against discrimination that were part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy,” she said. “That’s why it’s essential Congress works to protect it and ensure every state is held accountable to do the same.”
The legislation would update the processes that determine which states require preclearance for election changes with the U.S. Department of Justice and increase transparency by requiring reasonable public notice for voting changes.
Underwood said the bill would expand voting rights by targeting institutional barriers to voting, such as burdensome voter registration systems, limited voting hours and voter roll purges.
She said ensuring American elections and voting are “free, fair and secure” has been a priority for her.
Underwood also touted her support for H.R. 1, sweeping legislation that Democrats said would “restore our democracy” by fortifying ethics laws, strengthening campaign finance oversight and improving voting access, among other measures.