Rep. Susan Davis Re-Introduces Legislation to Expand Access to Voting and to Protect the Integrity of Elections
Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) re-introduced two of her signature election reform bills to restore integrity to federal elections and end constraints placed on voters who want to vote by mail, known as absentee.
The Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act would end restrictions many states impose on a person’s ability to vote absentee, such as requiring a doctor’s note, the details of a religious obligation, latest pregnancy status or details of a vacation destination. Currently, 21 states restrict an eligible voter’s ability to vote absentee. Davis’s bill would open up the convenience of casting a ballot by mail to millions of Americans.
“There’s really no excuse for the government to demand the private details of a person’s life just so they can vote,” said Rep. Davis. “Voters should not have to put their lives on display or jump through a number of unnecessary hoops just to participate in one of the most hallowed acts of a democracy – voting. And no one should be denied the chance to vote because they don’t have the proper excuse.”
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Davis's bill would not cost the federal government any money. The bill has twice passed the House Administration Committee, which has oversight of federal elections.
The Federal Election Integrity Act would prohibit a chief election official of a state from serving on federal campaign committees or engaging in other political activity on behalf of federal candidates in any election over which that official has supervisory authority.
“Someone who has a vested interest in a federal campaign should not also be able to oversee an election in which that candidate runs,” said Davis. “Congress needs to take this long-overdue step to restore the faith of the American people in the election system.”
Recent elections have brought examples of leading state election officials with disturbing conflicts of interest. In some of these cases, chief state election officials have held official positions on the campaign committees of federal candidates, such as state committee chair.
In 2010, the House passed the Election Integrity Act on a bipartisan vote of 296-129. The Senate failed to act on the bill before the end of the 111th Congress.