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White House appoints new adviser on federal voting rights

The White House on Monday appointed Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt as its voting rights adviser amid pressure for federal legislation that would bring sweeping changes to national elections.

“Levitt will assist the President in his efforts to ensure that every eligible American has safe and reliable access to a meaningful vote; to ensure equitable representation in federal, state and local governments; to restore confidence in a democracy worthy of this confidence; and to consolidate and broaden the avenues through which all Americans engage in strong civic participation, ”said a statement announcing his appointment.

Levitt, who began teaching at the California school in 2010, worked on voting rights issues as an Assistant Deputy Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice under former President Barack Obama . His appointment comes as Democrats push to pass HR 1, or the For the People Act of 2021 – a 791-page page that makes sweeping changes to the country’s electoral process.

The legislation, a wishlist of policies that franchise advocates have urged lawmakers to pass for years, rethinks the entire voting process: how people register to vote, how ballots are expressed and how states conduct elections.

The goal is to improve access, especially for voters of color. The bill would also create systems for public financing of campaigns and rules of ethics for candidates.

Voting rights advocates say the legislation could help prevent gerrymandering and restrictive voting laws. However, Republicans, who are pushing restrictive election laws at the state level, argue that the legislation would federalize election administration and they have worked to mobilize supporters against it.

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