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August 4, 2021

The Right to Vote Act would restore judicial protection of the right to vote in federal elections

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Mondaire Jones (NY-17) announced that he willintroduce the Right to Vote Act, legislation to ensure federal courts protect the right to vote as the fundamental right that it is. Originally proposed by Jones in February as an amendment to the House version of the For the People Act, the bill would ensure that no government could make it harder to vote unless it can show, by clear and convincing evidence, that doing so is the least restrictive means of significantly furthering an important interest. A Senate companion to Jones’ bill is being introduced by Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA).

“The right to vote is foundational in our democracy, and must be protected as such,” said Congressman Jones. “But in recent years, states like Georgia have launched an all-out assault on our democracy. The Right to Vote Act would stop this attack and prevent a new era of Jim Crow by requiring states to prove that any proposed restrictions on the right to vote advance an important interest in the least restrictive way possible. In this defining moment for our country, I’m proud to introduce this important legislation to secure the sacred right of every American to make their voice heard in our democracy.”

Specifically, the Right to Vote Act would create a new statutory cause of action against unjustifiable burdens on voting. Under the bill, governments would be required to prove their claims by clear and convincing evidence — ending their ability to justify voter suppression in the name of preventing voter fraud that doesn’t exist.

A one pager on the bill can be found here

The Right to Vote Act is endorsed by leading civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Campaign Legal Center, Demos, Fair Fight Action, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, People For the American Way, Protect Democracy, and Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

About Mondaire: Mondaire Jones is the 34-year-old Congressman from New York’s 17th District, serving Westchester and Rockland Counties. He serves on the House Judiciary, Education and Labor, and Ethics Committees and is the first openly gay, Black member of Congress. A product of East Ramapo public schools, Mondaire was raised in Section 8 housing and on food stamps in the Village of Spring Valley by a single mother who worked multiple jobs to provide for their family. He later graduated from Stanford University, worked at the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration, and graduated from Harvard Law School. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit Rising Leaders, Inc. and has previously served on the NAACP’s National Board of Directors and on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Most recently, Mondaire worked as a litigator in the Westchester County Law Department. In November, Mondaire was unanimously elected by his colleagues to be the Freshman Representative to Leadership, making him the youngest member of the Democratic House leadership team. In December, Jones was appointed a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and became a Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. Mondaire was born and raised in Rockland and resides in Westchester.