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September 14, 2021

The Freedom to Vote Act includes legislation authored by Jones to restore judicial protection of the right to vote in federal elections

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Freedom to Vote Act was introduced in the Senate with Congressman Mondaire Jones’ (D-NY) Right to Vote Act included in the bill. Originally proposed by Jones in February as an amendment to the House version of the For the People Act, the Right to Vote Act was introduced as standalone legislation last month by Rep. Jones and Sen. Jon Osoff. The measure would provide the first affirmative guarantee of the right to vote in federal law. For the first time, federal courts would be required to treat the right to vote as the fundamental right that it is. Specifically, no government — state, local, or federal — could do anything that would burden the ability to vote, unless it could prove by clear and convincing evidence that doing so is the least restrictive means of advancing an important governmental interest.

“The right to vote is foundational to our democracy, and must be protected as such,” said Congressman Jones. “But in recent years, states like Georgia and Texas have launched an all-out assault on our democracy. The Right to Vote Act would stop this attack by requiring states to prove that any proposed restrictions on the right to vote advance an important interest in the least restrictive way possible. No longer will states be able to justify voter suppression and election subversion in the name of preventing mass voter fraud that does not exist. I’ve championed this legislation since entering Congress, and I’m thrilled to see it included in the Freedom to Vote Act. Now, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to do whatever it takes — including abolishing or reforming the filibuster — to get this bill passed. In this defining moment for our democracy, we have a moral obligation to secure the sacred right of every American to make their voice heard in our democracy by passing this vital legislation.”

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.