Voting rights battle continues in Washington

Lawmakers continued to negotiate The Freedom to Vote Act, with the Senate to debate the legislation on Tuesday.
2:54 | 01/16/22

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Transcript for Voting rights battle continues in Washington
JANAI NORMAN: Voting rights battle front and center in Washington this week. We've heard so much about it as lawmakers try to hash out an agreement. We look at the Freedom to Vote Act and how it could impact the way you cast your ballot. ABC's Alex Presha is in Washington with more. ALEX PRESHA: This morning, a major showdown looming on Capitol Hill over voting rights. - What do we want? - Voters' rights! - When do we want it? - Now! ALEX PRESHA: A march in the nation's capital planned for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hoping to pressure lawmakers to support new voting rights legislation, a key campaign promise by President Biden. - I hope we can get this done. The honest to God answer is, I don't know. ALEX PRESHA: The Senate set to debate Tuesday. But the bottom line is, right now Democrats are struggling to advance their legislation, including the Freedom to Vote Act. The bill would create a national standard for voting, designate Election Day as a federal holiday, and restore voting rights to the formerly incarcerated. Since the 2020 election, a number of states have taken action that critics warn restrict access to the polls. In fact, at least 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting. Georgia now criminalizes handing out water to voters waiting in line. Texas banned 24-hour drive-through voting, which was originally created to provide a safe way to vote during the pandemic. Both states now being sued by the Department of Justice. And in Florida, after voters approved an amendment restoring voting rights to most felons, state Republicans enacted new restrictions requiring those felons to first pay back their legal financial obligations before being allowed to cast a ballot. - That's not what we voted for. ALEX PRESHA: Judy Bolden of Orlando spent 18 months behind bars for drug trafficking two decades ago. She's been free ever since but is ineligible to vote, saying she owes nearly $53,000-- fees related to her conviction. - Did anybody have to pay to get their rights to vote? But I have to pay to get mine's back. ALEX PRESHA: She's one of more than 770,000 felons there who've served their time but are denied their right to vote until their debts are cleared. It's a population large enough to change an election. Former President Trump won Florida in 2020 by just over 370,000 votes. Those like Bolden are looking to Washington to intervene. - I want to be able to let my voice be heard, not only for me, but for those that can't vote. - Republican supporters of many of these new voter access restrictions say they're meant to ensure secure elections. But critics counter that they make it harder for mostly minority voters to exercise their rights. Janai. - Important story there, Alex. And Alex, I know on social media yesterday you said you wear some of your dad's coats as a way to stay connected to him. I know that that's one of them. Very sweet. - Thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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