U.S. Chamber opposes Democratic voting rights bill

FILE PHOTO: The sun sets behind the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington

WASHINGTON, April 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said on Tuesday it strongly opposes a Democratic-backed bill that is aimed at rewriting U.S. voting law, saying it would punish corporations and associations that engage in political advocacy.

Democrats say the bill, which updates voting procedures and requires states to turn over the redrawing of congressional district lines to independent commissions, is needed to overcome Republican efforts to make voting across the country harder.

Many Republican-controlled state legislatures are exploring steps that voting-rights advocates say would reduce turnout after record-setting participation in the November 2020 general election.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it wants more people brought into the political process but that the bill would have "precisely the opposite effect – pushing certain voices, representing large segments of the electorate and U.S. economy, out of the political process altogether."

The Chamber, in a letter to senators, said the legislation would "regulate and ultimately silence Americans who choose to petition their government or participate in the political process through the collective action of an association or corporation." (Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington Editing by Matthew Lewis)