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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau, RepresentUs; Table: Will Chase/Axios

Millions of Americans were registered to vote last year but never made it to the polls for a variety of reasons, missing a chance to further boost record turnout, census surveys found.

Why it matters: Voting rights advocates have watched bill after bill fail in Congress. Now, some like RepresentUs, are pushing the Freedom to Vote Act. The group estimates the legislation would make it easier for about 6.5 million people to vote, based on what registered voters said stopped them last time.

  • The two biggest reasons people gave for not voting seemingly defy legislation: a lack of interest or dislike for the candidates, according to the census data.
  • But illness or disability, as well as general busyness, were two other common reasons.
  • Supporters believe the Freedom to Vote Act could help by expanding early voting options and improving accessibility, according to the new analysis by RepresentUs.

What they're saying: "This analysis shows us tangible ways our leaders can and should protect Americans’ freedom to vote," Josh Silver, RepresentUs co-founder and CEO, told Axios. “It’s time for the U.S. Senate to pass this historic and popular bill by any means necessary.”

Between the lines: Many states changed their voting rules last year to make it easier for people to vote early — either in person or by mail — to avoid crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Some states have continued to pass changes to state rules to expand access to different ways of voting and make casting a ballot easier.
  • Others have gone the opposite way, adding steps and restrictions.

Go deeper

Rep. Jeffries demands filibuster reform to pass voting rights bill

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told “Axios on HBO" that the “integrity of our democracy” is at stake without federal voting rights legislation, and the Senate must seriously consider filibuster reform if it can’t get 60 votes to pass it next year.

What they’re saying: “It's an open question as to whether we can get to 60 votes in the Senate on voting. And if we can't, then the Senate is going to have to make some decisions as it relates to filibuster reform,”Jeffries said.

"Midnight is approaching” to pass voting rights protections

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Defenders of democracy in America still have a slim window of opportunity to act. But time is ticking away, and midnight is approaching," according to more than 150 top scholars of U.S. democracy in a new push to temporarily suspend the Senate filibuster and pass voting rights protections on a simple majority vote.

Driving the news: Their unified front comes amid a short break in the legislative action on Capitol Hill, with the start of the Thanksgiving recess and after the House passage of President Biden's "Build Back Better" social spending package.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar.Photo: Hkun Lat/Getty Images

A Myanmar court sentenced the country's ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday to four years in prison on charges of "inciting public unrest" and breaking COVID-19 protocols, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the first of several verdicts that could result in the 76-year-old Nobel laureate being imprisoned for the rest of her life. The 11 charges she faces have been widely criticised as politically motivated.