Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a member of the far-left “Squad,” called for “incarcerated citizens” to be allowed to vote in federal elections, citing her support for allowing individuals under 16 to vote. Ta.
Pressley made the comments at a press conference Wednesday as he introduced a bill with Democratic Vermont Sen. Peter Welch that would restore voting rights to felons.
“That’s why we’re here today to propose the Comprehensive Democracy Act, which would end the stain of felony disenfranchisement in America and protect the incarcerated. “This is a historic, brand new, first-of-its-kind bill that guarantees the right to vote for formerly incarcerated and formerly incarcerated citizens,” Pressley said.
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“Our bill reflects bold, progressive democratic values. “And so we must be equally relentless in protecting and defending our democracy by expanding access to the ballot box, including for incarcerated citizens,” she continued.
At the end of 2022, about 4.6 million people were unable to vote due to a felony conviction, according to a study by the Sentencing Project, a nonpartisan research group. The same study found that blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately likely to be disenfranchised due to a felony conviction.
Members of the “Squad” spoke of their support for allowing individuals as young as 16 to vote, focusing on how “Jim Crow” is no longer “on our back.”
“When a former occupier of the White House can run for president while leading a violent insurrection while nearly 5 million Americans have criminal records and may not even be able to vote,” Pressley said at a news conference. , Jim Crow is not on our side.”
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“Our democracy is at stake, and the stakes could not be higher. As a Boston City Council member before coming to Congress here, I am proud to have been able to advocate for expanded access to the ballot box. “I was proud to require that ballots be available in multiple languages.” “I expanded early voting in local elections. And in Congress, I increased the federal voting age. He led the effort and legislation to lower the age to 16 and called on the Department of Justice to aggressively protect voting rights and combat voter suppression.”
“That’s why I have and will continue to fight for the right to vote for everyone,” she said.
The far-left bill would also require incarcerated individuals to be educated about their right to vote and provide systems and resources to register to vote, the Associated Press reported. The bill also mandates mail-in voting options for people who are incarcerated.
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Currently, states and territories determine the eligibility of their citizens to vote for all levels of government. The proposed bill would not change states’ ability to expand or restrict access to state or local elections.
The bill has a long chance of passing in the Republican-controlled House.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.