With the 2020 election cycle on the horizon, Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Jim Langevin, D-R.I., reintroduced the Fair, Accurate, Secure, and Timely (FAST) Voting Act. The legislation, according to the two Congressmen, aims to “enhance voting system security, improve voter participation, and encourage automatic voter registration.”

In a statement from Connolly’s office, the legislators explained that the bill is modeled after the Department of Education’s Obama-era Race to the Top program. The program would allow states to apply for funding to implement “innovative policy changes designed to increase voter access and voting system security.” Connolly’s office touted that the bill doesn’t mandate strict, universal policy proposals, and instead allows states the “flexibility” to implement unique reforms tailored to their needs.

The Election Assistance Commission would be tasked with awarding the funding through a competitive grant process. To receive grant funding, applicated would compete based on evidence of previous reforms, as well as their implementation plans for future innovation. Additionally, any state interested in implementing automatic voter registration would qualify for funding.

“Ensuring every American has the opportunity to participate in our elections is at the core of our democracy,” said Langevin. “We must fight for policies that will protect and expand access to the ballot box and increase the security of the voting systems we rely on. As the former chief election official for the state of Rhode Island, I am proud to join Rep. Connolly in introducing the FAST Voting Act to safeguard the vote and encourage higher voter participation.”

Versions of this legislation have been introduced in either the House or Senate since the 112th Congress in 2011, but have yet to gain significant traction. As of today, there is not a companion bill in the Senate.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.