(WASHINGTON) Marking the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), co-chair of both the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus and the Task Force for Strengthening Democracy announced she is introducing one of the most comprehensive voting rights legislative packages in congressional history. The package enjoys broad, bi-cameral support, with multiple Senators introducing companion bills to Congresswoman Williams’ legislation.
The seven bills introduced by Congresswoman Williams address every aspect of voting, voter registration, and election administration to ensure everyone who is eligible to vote and wants to vote in a federal election can do so with the confidence that their vote will be counted. An eighth bill is still to be introduced. Information about the eight bills and co-leads, is available below.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), Co-Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus and the Task Force for Strengthening Democracy said:
“As we mark the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, we face the same struggle for voting rights as the freedom fighters who convened on the national mall in 1963 fighting for jobs and freedom. All of our rights and basic freedoms come from free and fair access to the ballot. Every generation has an obligation to move our country one step forward. My legislative package takes a major step to ensuring everyone has free and fair access to the ballot. As Jim Crow 2.0 continues to rise across the country, we urgently need comprehensive national standards to protect voting rights for everyone—no matter your ZIP Code, no matter your bank account.”
Reflecting how powerful the legislation is, 129 of the country’s leading civil rights organizations have endorsed at least one of Congresswoman Williams’ bills in the legislative package. For a full list of endorsing organizations, click here. Some of the endorsing organizations include: Public Citizen, End Citizens United//Let America Vote Action Fund, Common Cause, Demand Progress, National Council of Jewish Women, Fair Fight Action, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the Coalition for the People’s Agenda, SPLC Action Fund, Care in Action, and Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Campaign.
Helen Butler, Executive Director of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda said:
“The right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracy. Not only should we protect the right to vote, but we should make the process as easy for registered voters as possible. Congresswoman Nikema William’s Voting Rights Package covers election funding to keep our elections secure and make sure election workers have the resources they need, language access, protections to ensure that mail-in ballots are received in a timely manner, ensuring that unhoused voters are not further disenfranchised, and more. These bills help strengthen our democracy and make our country better by making sure that access to the ballot is protected. I am proud to enthusiastically support the entire package.”
LaShawn Warren, Chief Policy Officer at the SPLC Action Fund said:
“This weekend’s anniversary of the March on Washington and the ongoing struggle it represents is an important reminder that an inclusive, multiracial democracy demands that all voters’ voices are heard. This is why we are thrilled to stand alongside Congresswoman Williams and other champions in Congress as they introduce bills that will promote access for voters too often left out of the process, provide local election workers who are the lifeblood of our democracy the resources they need, and strengthen our democracy. Today, SPLC Action Fund is proud to endorse the Expanding Our Democracy Act, the Unhoused VOTE Act, and the Sustaining Our Democracy Act, and we call on Congress to take action to move these and other critical voting rights bills forward.”
Hillary Holley, Executive Director Care in Action said:
“As we reflect on the March on Washington – and in our generation’s own crucial moment for justice – Congresswoman Nikema Williams is sounding the alarm with a powerful package that demands voters’ voices are heard. It’s a testament to our unwavering commitment to breaking barriers and amplifying voices – particularly those of Black communities and communities of color. From the robust Unhoused Voter Opportunity Through Elections (VOTE) Act to the dynamic People Over Long Lines (POLL) Act, these measures aren’t just about challenges but the keys to unlocking lasting change. Democracy should serve as a beacon of equal opportunity for every individual across our nation. This holds especially true for those historically disenfranchised – the Black and Brown communities who have flexed our political power and continue showing up to the polls through every effort to block our votes. We deserve more than just a seat at the table; we deserve an equitable voice reverberating through the ballot box. As we champion this comprehensive package, we recognize its vital significance for domestic workers and caregivers. These unsung heroes, who provide invaluable care to our families, deserve fair and just access to our democratic process. We’re not just shaping change; we’re architecting a future that echoes our shared values, collective dreams, and unwavering faith in the power of democracy. These measures serve as a clarion call propelling us towards a more inclusive, equitable, and empowered nation.”
1: Expanding the VOTE Act: (Passed the Judiciary Committee via bipartisan markup in 117th Congress. Re-introduced on August 25.) This bill gives jurisdictions the resources to provide more translations of election materials and ensure everyone, regardless of their level of English language proficiency, can equitably participate in our democracy. House Co-leads: Nanette Barragan (CA-44), Judy Chu (CA-28), Jerry Nadler (NY-12), Sharice Davids (KS-3), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Terri Sewell (AL-7), Robert “Bobby” Scott (VA-03). Senate lead: Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
2: Sustaining Our Democracy Act: (Re-introduced on August 25.) This provides grant funding for states and local jurisdictions to improve and innovate their election administration procedures. House co-leads: Marc Veasey (TX-33), Terri Sewell (AL-7), Robert “Bobby” Scott (VA-03). Senate lead: Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
3: Voters on the Move Registration Act (Included in Freedom to Vote Act. Re-introduced on August 25.): This provides voters with information on how to register to vote and their voting rights under law as they move residences. House co-leads: John Sarbanes (MD-03), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Terri Sewell (AL-7), Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04), Robert “Bobby” Scott (VA-03).
Unhoused Voter Opportunity Through Elections (VOTE) Act: (New legislation introduced on August 25). This provides protections and minimum standards for accessibility to voting for unhoused people, and provides resources for efforts to expand access to the ballot for unhoused people. House co-leads: Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Colin Allred (TX-32), Terri Sewell (AL-7), Robert “Bobby” Scott (VA-03). Senate co-lead Cory Booker (D-NJ)
5: Election Mail Act: (Re-introduced on August 25.) This improves the delivery and processing of election mail by setting minimum standards and improving USPS processes. Senate lead Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
6: People Over Long Lines (POLL) Act: (Re-introduced on August 25.) This sets minimum standards for how long people may wait in line to vote and provides resources to reduce voter wait times. Senate lead: Ron Wyden (D-OR).
7: Youth Voting Rights Act: (Re-introduced on August 25.) This bill enforces the bipartisan-passed Twenty-Sixth Amendment and ensures eligible youth voters can access the ballot box. Senate lead: Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
8: Time Off to Vote Act (Introduced in the 117th Congress, will be re-introduced soon) This bill mandates that all workers receive protected time off in order to vote. House lead: Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Congresswoman Williams is House co-lead.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District on the exclusive Financial Services Committee. She is a champion of voting rights and builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as co-chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams is committed to closing the racial wealth gap and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of your ZIP code or bank account.