White House appoints voting rights adviser in federal elections bill push

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Dartunorro Clark
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The White House named Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt to be its voting rights adviser Monday in its push for federal legislation that would make sweeping changes to the nation's elections.

"Levitt will assist the President in his efforts to ensure every eligible American has secure, reliable access to a meaningful vote; to provide equitable representation in federal, state and local government; to restore trust in a democracy deserving of that trust; and to shore up and expand the avenues by which all Americans engage in robust civic participation," said a release announcing his appointment.

Levitt, who began teaching at the school in California in 2010, worked on voting rights issues as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration. Democrats are pushing to pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021, a 791-page measure that would make sweeping changes to the electoral process.

The legislation, a wish list of policies that voting rights advocates have urged lawmakers to adopt for years, rethinks the voting process: how people register to vote, how ballots are cast and how states conduct elections.

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

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