Automatic voter registration, super PAC restrictions and redistricting commissions—those are just a few of the voting rights and anti-corruption measures introduced this past week by the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
As part of the unprecedented overhaul package, which includes a bill that would force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) introduced legislation to make election day a federal holiday.
In an announcement of her proposal, the South Bay congresswoman cites a 2014 study showing that, among those who didn't vote, 35 percent said they shirked the civic duty because of work or school. The Election Holiday Act, HR 294, would free up potentially millions more citizens to participate in our democracy.
“People should not be forced to choose between their job or family and exercising their right to vote,” Eshoo said in a news release Wednesday. “At a time when our democracy needs to be strengthened, and when many states are restricting access to the ballot box, it’s more important than ever for Congress to reaffirm our commitment to the most fundamental aspect of democracy, the right to vote. Strong voter turnout is essential to a healthy democracy, and this [bill] ensures more voices are heard in the political process.”
Congressman Donald McEachin, a Democrat from Richmond, Virginia, co-authored the bill, which he and Eshoo initially introduced in 2018 with 30 other co-sponsors.
“We must do all we can to remove barriers to the ballot box,” McEachin said in a joint press release. “The right to vote is sacred and should be protected. Our democracy depends on this fundamental principle.”