House bill restricts voter registration drives

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Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure that would restrict the ability of non-profit organizations to conduct voter registration drives. The measure appeared as an amendment tacked onto a bill providing increased regulatory oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

This latest move by the Republican-controlled House is but one in a series of such attempts to prevent American citizens from voting. In 2003, there was the South Dakota voter ID requirement, clearly intended to thwart Native American voters, and just this year, Georgia also passed a voter ID requirement law, which was struck down by a federal court just a few days ago.

The Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac amendment–which prohibits any non-profit group from receiving federal affordable-housing funds if it has conducted a voter registration drive in the past year (even with its own funds)–was added for the benefit of the ultraconservative Republican Study Committee. It should be noted that one of the RSC’s members is Louisiana Representative Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, who, as an Indian-American, is a man of color. This disconnect from reality apparently doesn’t disturb Jindal’s RSC peers any more than it disturbs the thousands of Louisianians who voted for Jindal, a slick bureaucrat with extreme right-wing views. Some of those views–especially in the areas of church/state separation and choice–if transformed into law, would be harmful to both people of color and non-Christians (Jindal was a Hindu before he converted to Christianity).

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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