U.S. Rep. Leger Fernández
From the Office of U.S. Rep. Leger Fernández:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Earlier in the week, U.S. Rep. Leger Fernández spoke on the House floor highlighting the value of New Mexico’s experience to H.R. 1, the For the People Act to reform and strengthen our democracy.
“We brought New Mexico’s experience to this bill to improve voting access for Native Americans, respect tribal boundaries during redistricting, and reduce wait times at the polls. Our democracy is the very foundation in which we rest every American ideal. We love it and we must protect it for the people,” Leger Fernández said.
The For the People Act passed Wednesday and includes three key provisions Leger Fernández secured that will:
- Allow Indian Tribes to designate buildings as ballot pickup and collection locations for federal elections. Voters living on Indian lands could also use these designated buildings as residential and mailing addresses.
- Ensure that the Independent Redistricting Commissions minimize the division of tribal jurisdictions during redistricting.
- Require states to ensure voters wait less than 30 minutes to vote at the polls.
“Voting should be a celebration, not an endurance event where Black, Latino and Native American voters need to wait 6 to 8 hours just to vote,” noted Leger Fernández at the Wednesday press briefing with Speaker Pelosi and other Congressional leaders who worked on the bill.
H.R. 1 also included an amendment by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Rep. Leger Fernández to authorize funding for the Native American Disability Law Center in Farmington. This would improve voting access for individuals with disabilities living on Tribal land and in rural areas in the Four Corners region.