Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) recently announced the introduction of the American Right to Vote Act. The proposed legislation prohibits states from imposing any additional conditions or requirements on voters seeking to cast ballots in federal elections.
The legislation also seeks to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to categorize, handle, and deliver all election related mail as first-class mail.
Last month, the Crusader reported that Indiana is one of six states that require voters to list a valid excuse to receive a mail-in ballot before they can vote by mail.
“The U.S. Postal Service is under an all-out assault from this President and his hand-picked U.S. Postmaster General, causing unprecedented mailing delays in my district and beyond, and resulting in millions of Americans experiencing delays in lifesaving prescription drugs, important bills, social security benefits, and personal paychecks,” said Representative Rush. “This subversion and sabotage of the Postal Service has now brought into question the reliability of the USPS to safely and securely deliver election-related mail months ahead of an upcoming election.
“Moreover, we find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic that requires many of us, especially the most vulnerable among us, to stay home in order to avoid risk of infection, and the last thing we need is for mail-in voting to be disrupted by this incompetent and imbecilic administration. That is exactly why I introduced the American Right to Vote Act, which will expand no-excuse absentee voting and require the USPS to certify all election mail as first-class mail so that every American who wishes to cast their ballot by mail can do so with confidence.”
The American Right to Vote Act would also require the USPS to postmark all election mail processed by the Postal Service and provide same-day processing for all election mail.
On July 21, Rush hosted a virtual townhall regarding the unprecedented parcel and letter delays taking place in his district. Following the townhall and the hundreds of complaints received by his office, Rep. Rush called on the USPS-OIG to formally investigate several post offices in his district on August 7, 2020.
On August 10, 2020 Rep. Rush joined the Illinois Delegation in calling on Postmaster General DeJoy to address the issues taking place across the State of Illinois, and on August 12, 2020, Rep. Rush joined Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Maloney in calling on Postmaster General DeJoy to further address the dysfunction taking place across the country.
On August 22, Rep. Rush voted in support of the Delivering For America Act, which prohibits the U.S. Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service it had in place on January 1, 2020, and provides $25 billion in critical funding to support the Postal Service. The bipartisan legislation passed the House 257–150, with over two dozen House Republicans voting in support of the bill.
On August 26, Rush introduced legislation to remove an estimated 1,700 Confederate statues and monuments across the nation. Called the Rejecting and Eliminating the Foul Use of Symbols Exulting (REFUSE) Confederate Principles Act, the proposed legislation would establish a program through the U.S. National Park Service to expedite the removal of Confederate symbols and to incentivize the formation of alternative structures.
“A little over three years ago, self-identified white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the Ku Klux Klan descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, to ‘Unite the Right’ and honor the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee,” Rush said. “These racist thugs brandished weapons and carried torches, chanting ‘blood and soil’ and ‘Jews will not replace us.’ The hatred that consumed the streets of Charlottesville would eventually lead to the death of Heather Heyer, when one of the Confederate sympathizers drove his car into her and a group of peaceful, counter protesters.
“The Southern Policy Law Center estimates that there are over 1,700 similar Confederate Statues and monuments that remain in public places across the nation.
These abhorrent commemorative structures, many of which were created long past the conclusion of the Civil War, are located in areas that far exceed the confines of the 11 Confederate States and are a means to uphold Confederate principles and white supremacy, the same white supremacy that led to the death of Heather Heyer and countless others.
“It is past time that we eradicate these totems of treason and replace them with symbols that represent the true promise of America, such as the emancipation of Black Americans. My bill, the REFUSE Confederate Principles Act would do just that by creating the Emancipation Historic Preservation program, which would provide grants for removing the false idols of the confederacy and replacing them with symbols and structures that we can actually be proud of.”
The REFUSE Confederate Principales Act would expedite the removal of Confederate symbols by:
- Establishing a grant program titled the Emancipation Historic Preservation Program for the purposes of removing and replacing Confederate symbols;
- Authorizing funding to supplement the formation of alternative structures or symbols, including those structures or symbols that commemorate or depict the freedom of enslaved Black people;
- Authorizing funding for the storage of symbols by a State historic preservation program for educational purposes;
- Prohibiting the use of authorized appropriations under this Act for the preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, or construction of a Confederate symbol; and
- Mandating a reporting structure to ensure accountability in the distribution and use of funds.