Members of Congress introduce the Freedom to Vote Act on July 18, 2023.

NETWORK Celebrates the Reintroduction of the Freedom to Vote Act as Priority Path Forward for U.S. Democracy

For Immediate Release: July 19, 2023

WASHINGTON—On July 18, Democratic leaders of both the House and Senate gathered in the LBJ Room of the Senate extension to boldly announce re-introduction of the party’s top priority legislation, the Freedom to Vote Act (S.1, H.R. 11).

The legislation is a comprehensive proposal that would increase access to the ballot box, neutralize partisan and racial gerrymandering, and increase transparency in our campaign finance system to counteract the impact of dark money and secret spending. Originally introduced in 2021, the Freedom to Vote Act would address many of the most pressing challenges to the electoral process, allowing democracy to work for all people in the U.S. and ensuring that all voices are heard.

Joan Neal, NETWORK Deputy Executive Director and Chief Equity Officer said:

“Since the founding of our country, the U.S has been on a journey towards greater enfranchisement. Progress has been hard-fought, but voting has been transformed in law and spirit from the privilege of a few into a foundational right. In the past decade, however, we see a concerted effort by opponents of free and fair voting to reverse this right, depriving citizens of the right to choose their own leaders. Each generation must do its part to ensure this most basic, most sacred freedom is preserved, expanded and strengthened.

“Our faith calls us to work together to build a democracy that is accountable to the people. To realize the vision of America where healthcare, living wages, and racial and environmental justice are extended to everyone, we must make certain our federal elections system is fair, equitable and serves the interest of all the people, not just the rich and powerful. The right to vote is foundational to a functioning, inclusive democracy. We call upon leaders in Congress and at every level of government to safeguard the right to vote, to ensure the power of the vote resides with the people, and to guarantee that we can cast our ballots freely, safely, and equally.”

Min. Christian S. Watkins, Government Relations Advocate said:

“Echoing Sen. Raphael Warnock, it has been 100 years since our democratic system have been in such a sordid state as they are today. Voter suppression and intimidation, partisan gerrymandering, election fraud, fake news, and dark money all contributing to voting rights disenfranchisement and subversion all across our nation. The Freedom to Vote Act, along with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act later this year, must be prioritized and passed to safeguard U.S. democracy as all other issues cannot be reconciled if our democratic systems don’t function fairly and equitably.”

Earlier this month the House Republican caucus introduced H.R. 8528—the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act, a deceptive anti-voter bill that will disenfranchise millions of voters and boost the influence of billionaires and corporations in our elections. The ACE Act would further weaken disclosure laws to increase dark money spending. By increasing the role of dark money in politics and making it harder for millions of Americans to vote, the ACE Act would only serve to benefit the wealthy and corporate interests, and would block progress on the critical issues that matter to disenfranchised and underserved communities. NETWORK is committed to defeating this or any bill that would restrict the voice of the people and instead calls Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act now.

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NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice – advocates for justice inspired by Catholic Sisters – educates, organizes, and lobbies for economic and social transformation. With a 50-year record of accomplishment and more than 100,000 supporters across the country, NETWORK advocates for federal policies that support those at the margins and prioritize the common good.

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