NASHVILLE – Today Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) was sworn-in to serve in the 117th United States Congress.
Shortly after being sworn-in, Cooper re-introduced the following three bills to ensure the voting process is fair and equitable for all Americans.
Cooper once again introduced the John Tanner Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act. Named for former Congressman John Tanner, a Tennessean who championed the measure for many years before his retirement from the House in 2010, the bill eliminates partisan gerrymandering from the congressional redistricting process by requiring each state to establish an independent, bipartisan redistricting commission to redraw congressional district lines once every 10 years that reflect contiguous communities. Redistricting commission language very similar to Cooper’s bill was included in H.R. 1, the For the People Act, that passed the House last Congress. The Senate did not bring it up for a vote.
The Redistricting Transparency Act would require states to publicize redistricting information online, including the data used in the process, details of the process, proposed maps and public hearing dates. It also would require that the public be allowed to comment before maps receive final approval.
Finally, Cooper re-introduced a constitutional amendment that would give Americans, for the first time in history, a constitutional right to vote. This proposed amendment bans voter suppression and prevents the ability of any state to deny or abridge the right of its citizens to vote. The Constitution never explicitly created a right to vote, it only limits certain types of discrimination such as against African-Americans or women. Voter suppression tactics have been so effective, particularly in the south, because there is no guaranteed Constitutional right to vote.
“I am honored that Nashvillians and Middle Tennesseans continue to believe in me and I will keep doing the best job I can to represent them in Congress. Sadly we are seeing as the new Congress begins that the right to vote is under attack, maybe more than ever,” Rep. Cooper said. “Everyone has something valuable to contribute to society and my constitutional amendment will help us improve elections and society. Voting rights can turn equality-under-the-law into reality,” Rep. Jim Cooper continued. “Voters should continue to choose their elected officials—not the other way around. The redistricting process shouldn’t be about protecting the powerful and we need to fix it.”