The very first bill the Democrat-led Congress submitted after Biden became President was the For the People Act. It passed in the House, but Senate Republicans pushed for compromises. This new Senate bill is called the Freedom to Vote Act (FTVA). It still includes much-needed, nation-wide election changes, even though much was cut out.

The FTVA protects and expands voting rights and election security through: automatic, online, and same-day voter registration; vote-by-mail and early voting; limiting voter roll purging and requiring purged voters to be notified within 48 hours; establishing Election Day as a federal holiday; restoring voting rights to felons who have completed their sentence and parole; requiring short wait times at polling places; ending partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts; requiring transparent, post-election audits with clearly defined rules and procedures; and requiring newer voting machines that provide voter-verified paper records.

The FTVA also reduces the influence of big money in our politics by: requiring organizations that spend over $10,000 in elections to disclose their donors; upgrading online political spending transparency rules so voters know who is paying for political advertisements; and strengthening oversight rules to ensure those who break campaign finance laws are held accountable.

These are things we all agree are necessary for a healthy democracy. But a handful of powerful legislators are blocking this bill so they can exploit our current laws and maintain their power. That’s unfair and un-American. We can fix this. Please contact Senators Baldwin and Johnson and tell them to pass the Freedom to Vote Act!

Sue Heintz, Lodi

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