Rep. Nikema Williams and Sen. Reverend Raphael Warnock Announce Bicameral Legislation to Help People Register to Vote as they Change Residences
WASHINGTON – Representative Nikema Williams (GA-05) along with Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Terri A. Sewell (AL-07), and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) announced introduction of the Voters on the Move Registration Act today. Built off an amendment that Representative Williams successfully passed into H.R. 1: For the People Act of 2021 back in March, this legislation will make it easier for people to register to vote as they change residences.
Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are cosponsoring the legislation.
The Voters on the Move Registration Act requires the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in coordination with the Election Assistance Commission, to design a uniform statement that would be included with certain leases and vouchers for federally assisted rental housing as well as with mortgage applications to inform recipients about their voting rights and how they can register to vote at their new address.
“Moving to a new home shouldn’t be a barrier to voting,” said Representative Williams. “Helping people register to vote as they prepare to move into their new homes is one of the simplest ways to strengthen our democracy. This commonsense legislation will give people the tools they need to exercise their voice in our representative government no matter their ZIP code – or the ZIP code they are moving to.”
“Voting is a civil right and it should be as easy as possible,” said Representative García. “Congress should ensure everyone has the information they need to register to vote and update their registration. The reality is that poor and working-class people have a harder time keeping their registration up to date because they move more frequently. This bill ensures homebuyers and federally assisted tenants get reliable information about registering to vote when they take out a mortgage or sign a lease.”
“Every single American – no matter their background – should have full and equitable access to the ballot box,” said Representative Sarbanes. “The Voters on the Move Registration Act will help ensure that families across the country have the tools and resources they need to make their voices heard. I salute Congresswoman Williams for her leadership in our fight to protect and expand the sacred right to vote.”
“A record number of Americans turned out to make their voices heard at the ballot box during the 2020 elections. Instead of building on the success of these elections, states and politicians across the country are trying to pass Jim Crow-style voter suppression laws,” said Representative Veasey. “This bill will help us move forwards, not backwards, by reminding individuals who have recently moved of their new voter information, bringing more people in the voting process.
“As Representative of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, home to the historic civil and voting rights cities of Selma, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Montgomery, I am proud to stand on the shoulders of the Foot Soldiers of the voting rights movement in ensuring that every American has access to the ballot box,” said Representative Sewell. “That’s why I’m thrilled to join my colleagues in supporting this commonsense bill which would make it easier for Americans who move residences to keep their voter registration up-to-date and participate in the voting process.”
“Increasing voter participation in the democratic process should be the goal of every elected official in a democracy,” said Representative Scott. “The Voters on the Move Actprovides information to renters about voter registration and their rights under the law and is critical in an increasingly mobile society. Elections are about discerning the will of the majority and we cannot afford to leave anyone out.”
“Access to the ballot box is foundational to a thriving, healthy democracy, and a recent move shouldn’t prevent an eligible voter from casting a ballot,” said Senator Warnock. “The Voters on the Move Registration Act will help ensure movers receive accurate and timely information about registering to vote in their new locality. When our elected officials reflect the people they are elected to represent, we are all better off. This bill gets us closer to that goal.”
The Voters on the Move Act is supported by Common Cause, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), National Housing Law Project, and National Low Income Housing Coalition.
“All Americans, no matter their age, race, or zip code, deserve to have the freedom to vote,” said Aunna Dennis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. “Especially as certain Republican state legislatures are creating barriers to voting, mostly targeting Black and Brown voters, we commend Congresswoman Williams and Senator Warnock for introducing this common-sense bill, the Voters on the Move Registration Act, to help ensure that all Americans can have their voices heard and votes counted.”
“The strength of our democracy depends, in part, on eliminating persistent voter disparities for low-income renters, who frequently face greater barriers to voting,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “One reason renters vote at lower rates than homeowners is because renters move more frequently, and they have to update their voter registration at each new address. This bill directly addresses this challenge, and it will make it easier for renters living in federally assisted housing to participate in elections.”