3 New Steps in the Voting-Rights Fight

Blogging the Beltway: Courts, Congress and Obama's campaign unveil efforts to protect voter access.

(The Root) — It’s been an eventful couple of days in the world of voting rights, with a variety of political and legal factions ramping up efforts to protect access to the polls. From Congress to the courts to the Obama campaign, here’s the latest election-protection news you need to know.

A Bill to Modernize the Election Process

On Thursday, House Democrats introduced the Voter Empowerment Act, legislation designed to simplify, strengthen and expand access to the election process. Among other provisions, the bill would do the following:

* Authorize online voter registration

* Authorize same-day voter registration and allow voters to update their registration data onsite

* Require universities that receive federal funds to offer and encourage voter registration

* Prohibit voter caging (the practice of sending direct mail to names on the voter rolls, and using any returned mail as the basis for purging registered voters), designating the practice as a felony

* Establish a national voter hotline

* Set standards for voting machines to ensure accurate tabulation