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Hoosier Voting Advocates Rally For Federal Election Reform Bill

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Lauren Chapman/IPB News
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Hoosier citizen advocacy groups want U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) to vote for the federal voting reform bill known as the “For The People Act.”

And they rallied outside Young and Braun’s Indianapolis offices Tuesday in a bid to get attention for their cause.

U.S. Senate Bill 1 would nationalize many election standards. It would, for instance, establish independent redistricting commissions for all states, impose automatic voter registration nationwide and set Election Day as a national holiday.

Common Cause Indiana’s Julia Vaughn, who organized the rally, said she’s sad to see the legislation become a Democrats versus Republicans issue.

“Voting rights, improving ethics, reducing the influence of big money on politics – those should never be partisan issues,” Vaughn said.

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Speakers at the rally also cheered the bill's expansion of mail-in voting, pre-registration of 16 and 17-year-olds and enactment of same-day voter registration throughout the country.

It wasn't just voting rights advocacy groups at the rally. So too were representatives from the Sierra Club, including its Hoosier chapter director, Amanda Shepherd.

"In order to fully confront the climate crisis, address environmental justice and move to 100 percent renewable, clean energy, we require an accurate representation of the people," Shepherd said. "All too often, the voice of us, the people, are curtailed by voter suppression, big money in politics, corruption and gerrymandered districts."

Senate Republicans have used the filibuster to halt the bill, decrying it as a federal takeover of elections.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.