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Sen. Kaine pushes Freedom To Vote Act, says it should not be a partisan issue

The measure passed in House, 220-203 with only Democrats voting yes, and all Republicans voting no.

WASHINGTON — Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine believes protecting voting rights is "an absolute existential necessity for our country." He said the Freedom To Vote John R. Lewis Act would do just that.

Since the 2020 presidential election, a number of Republican-governed states across the country passed laws that limit opportunities to vote and change how votes are counted.

Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates already introduced measures to bar drop boxes for absentee ballots, to require voters by mail to provide an excuse for why they can't vote in person on Election Day and to cut Virginia's early voting period from 45 days to 14 days.

In response, Kaine, a Democrat, introduced the Freedom to Vote John R Lewis Act, aiming to improve access to the ballot, advance election integrity reforms and protect democracy from attacks.

"Now, for the first time, we will have a debate about voting rights on the floor of the United States Senate," he said.

Kaine, a former civil rights attorney, has long fought to protect voting rights and expand access to the ballot box.

He said the right to vote is sacred and foundational for all other rights, and should not be a partisan issue.

"If you protect people's rights to vote, if you make it easier for them to vote, if you do things to guarantee the accuracy of the vote and increase people's confidence, it's not just good for one party of the other. It's good for democracy," he said.

The Freedom to Vote Act has already passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 220 to 203, with all Democrats in support and all Republicans opposed.