Padilla: It’s Critical We Pass For the People Act, Restore Voting Rights for the American People

“Anybody who agrees the 2020 election went well, must also denounce the hundreds of bills that have been introduced since making it harder for eligible citizens to participate.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) participated in a Senate Rules Committee hearing examining S.1, the For The People Act. Padilla questioned a panel of witnesses that included Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General and current Chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, Mr. Michael Waldman, President of the Brennan Center for Justice, and Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Secretary of State.

Yesterday, Padilla delivered a floor speech voicing strong support for the legislation. As California’s former chief elections officer, Padilla has been a long-time advocate for voting rights and has implemented landmark legislation making it easier for Californians to vote.

WATCH: View Video of Padilla’s Questioning Download Video of Padilla’s Questioning

Padilla began by debunking Republican claims that voter fraud is a common occurrence, when in fact voter fraud in America is exceedingly rare. Padilla highlighted the real problems within our voting system saying, “Voter purges, discriminatory voter ID laws, long lines that no voter should have to suffer and wait through to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Let alone, the false choice too many voters were forced to make last year in either protecting their health and their lives versus exercising their right to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a lot of work to do still on making it easier for eligible citizens to register, to stay registered, and to cast their ballot.”

Padilla continued, “Anybody who agrees with Minority Leader McConnell in thinking that the 2020 election went so well, then you have to also denounce the hundreds of bills that have been introduced—even though they haven’t been passing, yet—that have been introduced, that would have the effect of making it harder for eligible citizens to participate.”

Padilla asked Mr. Holder to speak about the need the create a federal baseline for voting rights and access to the ballot that is applicable nationwide, which the For the People Act would do. Holder confirmed Padilla’s point that voter fraud is a baseless claim and expressed the importance of creating a federal voting standard.

Padilla went on to ask Mr. Waldman to explain to the committee why our country needs both the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the For the People Act. Waldman confirmed both bills are necessary to ensure equal access to the ballot for all Americans, and weed out racial discrimination in voting.

In closing, Padilla asked Secretary Benson about the implementation of For the People and the claims it would take control away from state and local election officials. Benson rejected critics’ argument that the reforms in the For the People Act cannot be implemented, and went on to say that the bill will dramatically improve the system of election administration across the entire country.

For additional information, witnesses and testimonies on the hearing, click here.

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