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Rep. Leger Fernández Stands Up for Voting Rights Legislation

January 13, 2022

 

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández released the following statement after she voted for and the House of Representatives passed the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.

“I’ve dedicated myself to voting rights work because I know that when communities like Native Americans, Latinos, African Americans, and rural New Mexicans don’t have access to the vote, their needs are ignored when laws are passed. Democracy is precious precisely because it raises the voices of voters so their issues are addressed.

Last year, the House Elections Subcommittee, of which I am a Member, held numerous hearings documenting the persistent and pernicious effort to make it more difficult for Americans to vote. Sadly, those efforts target Native American, Latino, African Americans, and other communities of color.

I proudly voted for the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act to make sure that Native Americans, Latinos, African Americans, and every other American have access to the ballot. The critical legislation will expand same-day registration and early voting, improve election security, and fight dark money in politics. It includes provisions I authored including protecting Native American Tribes and limiting the time voters have to wait to vote.  Elections should be a celebration not a marathon where voters have to wait hours in line.  This bill will protect poll workers, reinstate preclearance, and remove barriers to voting for those living on tribal lands.

The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act will make sure that our government works for the people, for our New Mexican communities, para la gente.  Voting is a constitutional right; the filibuster is a rule that arose out of Jim Crow. Senate Republicans are shameless in opposing voting rights, especially since in the past it was always a bi-partisan bill.  I applaud the Senate for beginning the debate in spite of Republicans' opposition. They must not only debate the bill, but also pass it.

Our democracy is strong. But these efforts to suppress the vote weaken it. They demand that we take action to protect it. Ahora es Cuando.”

The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act includes numerous provisions that Rep Leger Fernández advocated:

  • Ensures that redistricting maps minimize the division of tribal jurisdictions during redistricting.
  • Requires states to ensure fair and equitable wait times and that voters wait less than 30 minutes to vote at the polls. 
  • Allows Indian Tribes to designate buildings as ballot pickup and collection locations for federal elections.

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