Local activist group Seattle Supports Democracy rallied Nov. 11 to urge Washington senators to pass the Freedom to Vote Act — a bill that would make it easier to vote and establish Election Day as a federal holiday — before the end of the year.
The Freedom to Vote Act would expand voter registration and require states to conduct post-election audits for federal elections. It would also prohibit campaign spending by foreign nationals and create an alternative campaign financing system for some federal offices.
If passed, the legislation would help get money out of politics by prohibiting large political spending unleashed by Citizens United, a Supreme Court decision that allowed nearly unlimited money to flow from political action committees, said Sara Thein, a board member of the League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County. It also puts guidelines around redistricting, the process of apportioning congressional districts.
“The need is urgent,” Thein said. “If this bill is not passed by December 10th, when Congress goes into recess for the holidays, it will be too late to change the redistricting efforts that are already under way and threaten to further disenfranchise minority voters.
“The time is now,” she said.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Sara Thein's affiliation. She is a board member of the League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County. The newspaper regrets the error.
Ashley Archibald is a freelance journalist and former Real Change staff reporter. Her work can be found in the South Seattle Emerald, KNKX and the Urbanist.
Read more of the Nov. 17-23, 2021 issue.