Washington – Aiming to combat efforts to intimidate or disenfranchise voters, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has introduced legislation that would prohibit and penalize the knowingly spreading of misinformation, such as incorrect polling locations, times, or the necessary forms of identification in order to suppress voter turnout.
“At a time when voting rights are being attacked and chipped away — from state legislatures to the Supreme Court — we’ve got to redouble our efforts to protect every Missourian’s right to vote,” McCaskill said. “Misinformation campaigns intended only to suppress the vote and disenfranchise Missourians are crimes that run counter to our democratic values, and the punishment for those actions should fit the crime.”
DECEPTIVE PRACTICES, INTIMIDATION
McCaskill’s bill, the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, which she introduced with Senators Ben Cardin of Maryland, Doug Jones of Alabama, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would prohibit and penalize intentionally and knowingly spreading misinformation to voters that is intended to suppress the vote, including the time and place of an election and restrictions on voter eligibility. The penalty for engaging in these deceptive acts would be a fine up to $100,000 and/or up to five years in prison.
AIM TO RESTORE FULL PROTECTIONS OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT
McCaskill has long been an advocate for voting rights and has spoken out strongly against efforts to disenfranchise voters. In 2016, McCaskill expressed her outrage at an illegitimate change to federal voter registration forms in three states that could strip voting rights from tens of thousands of Americans by illegally requiring proof-of-citizenship documents.
McCaskill also supported the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2017, a bill that aims to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — which was gutted by the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which led to several states passing sweeping voter suppression laws, disproportionately affecting minorities, the elderly, and youth.