ATLANTA – Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) issued the following statement after introducing the Our Homes Our Votes Act. The bill facilitates voter registration for residents of federally subsidized housing by allowing people to register to vote as they sign their lease and verify their income. The bill is cosponsored by Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05).
“Tenants of public and subsidized housing are often the most marginalized members of our communities,” said Congresswoman Williams. “The Our Homes, Our Votes Act gives people the option to register to vote as they fill out their housing documents. Congress should always work to make it easier to vote, not harder. I am proud to help lead this commonsense legislation that will strengthen our democracy and uplift marginalized members of the community.”
“The right to vote is fundamental to democracy and it should be easy, convenient, and secure. The Our Homes Our Votes Act cuts out duplicative processes and allows residents of federally subsidized housing to register to vote when they sign their lease. Tenants already have their identity and residence verified when certifying eligibility for public housing so there’s no reason to not be able to register to vote at the same time,” said Congressman García. “This bill is common sense and ensures the most vulnerable among us have a voice in our public policy. Instead of erecting barriers to voting, Congress should be making it easier to vote, especially for working-class, Latino, Black, or marginalized communities like the ones I represent in Chicago.”
“When we make it easier for eligible voters to register and vote, more people are able to make their voices heard and claim their power in our democracy,” said Congresswoman Scanlon. “This bill builds upon the foundation established by the National Voter Registration Act by expanding voter registration opportunities. If you can register to vote while updating your driver’s license, why can’t you when signing a lease at a Public Housing Agency? It’s just that simple.”
The provisions of the Our Homes Our Votes Act mirror the popular National Voter Registration Act of 1993 or “Motor Voter Law,” which allows eligible voters to register to vote directly at the DMV as they obtain or renew their drivers’ license. This bill extends the concept to tenants in subsidized housing administered by a public housing authority who, like customers at the DMV, have already had their identity and residence vetted by public authorities.