September 07, 2017

Duckworth, Van Hollen, Beyer and Ellison Introduce Legislation to Support Civic Participation and Strengthen Voting Rights


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced the Pre-Registration of Voters Everywhere (PROVE) Act today to expand voter registration efforts nationwide and increase American citizens' participation in their democratic process. The PROVE Act would enable citizens who are 16 and older to preregister to be added to voter rolls when they turn 18. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) also introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives today.

"The right to vote is a founding tenet of our democracy, and the strength of our democracy depends upon the participation of the American people," said Duckworth. "Yet, many Americans still face unnecessary barriers when it comes to casting their vote, and voter turnout continues to lag behind that of many other developed nations. We should be doing everything we can to make it easier - not harder - for Americans to access the ballot box. I'm proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill to help young Americans become more civically engaged. By allowing Americans to pre-register at 16 years old, we have a chance to increase voter participation and strengthen voting rights for Americans across the country."

Young people are already allowed to pre-register to vote in twenty states - including Illinois and Maryland - and the District of Columbia. The PROVE Act would nationalize this standard to increase civic participation among young Americans by reducing existing barriers many young people face when it comes to voting in federal elections.

"Too many people still face barriers in voting, and increasing participation in our democratic progress is something we should work toward - regardless of party or political background. The PROVE Act would do just that, ensuring that young people are pre-registered to vote and ready to head to the ballot box when they turn 18 years old," said Van Hollen. "Maryland has been a national leader on this issue, and this legislation will help move the entire nation forward and ultimately strengthen our democracy."

Duckworth has been a vocal advocate for strengthening voting rights in Illinois and across the country. In July, she helped introduce the Anti-Voter Suppression Act to repeal President Trump's Executive Order establishing an "election integrity" commission to investigate widespread voter fraud. Duckworth has been a vocal critic of the commission's actions, including its intrusive and illegal request for personally-identifiable information on every United States voter, which they temporarily halted amid a growing number of legal challenges.

The PROVE Act, which the Senators introduced during National Voter Registration Month, is endorsed by Common Cause, Fair Vote Action, Head Count, Project Vote and Rock the Vote.

Full text of the bill is available here.