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H.R. 5746: Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act


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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 13, 2022.


Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act

This bill addresses voter registration and voting access, election integrity and security, redistricting, campaign finance, and voting rights.

Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls.

Next, the bill establishes Election Day as a federal holiday.

The bill establishes certain federal criminal offenses related to voting. In particular, the bill establishes a new criminal offense for conduct (or attempted conduct) to corruptly hinder, interfere with, or prevent another person from registering to vote or helping someone register to vote.

Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including by requiring states to conduct post-election audits for federal elections.

The bill outlines criteria for congressional redistricting and generally prohibits mid-decade redistricting.

The bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.

Next, the bill establishes new criteria for determining which states and political subdivisions must obtain preclearance before changes to voting practices may take effect. Preclearance is the process of receiving preapproval from the Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before making legal changes that would affect voting rights.

The bill also includes provisions related to federally protected activities at polling places and voting access on tribal lands.