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Politics House Democrats push to pass election reforms as GOP moves to change voting laws

13:11  03 march  2021
13:11  03 march  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Florida Republicans want to impose new voting restrictions. They’re not the only ones.

  Florida Republicans want to impose new voting restrictions. They’re not the only ones. Gov. Ron DeSantis’s plan to make it harder to vote by mail, briefly explained.At a news conference in Palm Beach on Friday, DeSantis, a Republican, announced a proposed slate of new voting restrictions that would make it more difficult for voters to receive and return mail-in ballots in future Florida elections.

The House on Wednesday is expected to pass a sweeping ethics and voting rights package first introduced in 2019, one Democrats say is urgently needed as GOP-controlled state legislatures scramble to change voting laws in the wake of the presidential election.

MORE: 'Big lie' spreads into GOP efforts to limit ballot access: The Note

The "For the People Act of 2021" would automatically register people to vote and restore the voting rights of felons. It would also mandate more than two weeks of early voting, encourage voting-by-mail and expand absentee ballot drop boxes across the country -- along with other provisions meant to address concerns raised by election officials during the 2020 election cycle.

Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy

  Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy All Americans have a shared interest in resuscitating the health of our democracy, and Congress has an opportunity to do just that by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. © The Hill Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy The 2020 voter fraud conspiracy, which alleged that the 2020 election was not legitimately won by President Biden, has rightfully been called "the big lie." The truth is that the myth of voter fraud is an effective trope that has been used for decades to inhibit the political power of people of color.

a person holding a microphone © J. Scott Applewhite/AP

"We’re not pursuing this reform against the backdrop of the status quo. We’re pursuing it against the prospect that the Republicans will take things in the wrong direction, and in a significant way," Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., the lead sponsor of the bill told ABC News.

a group of people in a room: Voters cast ballots at Lucky Shoals Park polling station, Nov. 3, 2020, in Norcross, Ga. © Jessica Mcgowan/Getty Images, FILE Voters cast ballots at Lucky Shoals Park polling station, Nov. 3, 2020, in Norcross, Ga.

Following Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in November, Republicans across the country have introduced hundreds of proposals to change voting laws, arguing that the changes are needed to restore trust in the election system.

The efforts follow Trump and some Republicans’ extended campaign to undermine the election results with unproven claims of widespread voter fraud, and the Trump campaign’s repeated failures to challenge state-level results in court.

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday in a case that could further gut the Voting Rights Act and its protections for minority voters

  The Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday in a case that could further gut the Voting Rights Act and its protections for minority voters In Brnovich vs. Democratic National Committee, the Court will rule whether two Arizona voting restrictions violate Section 2 of the VRA.In the two lawsuits, Brnovich vs. Democratic National Committee and Arizona Republican Party vs. DNC, which are being consolidated for Tuesday's arguments, the court will determine whether two Arizona voting restrictions violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

MORE: Advocates warn GOP bills in Ga., Ariz. could restrict voter access

On Monday, the Republican-controlled state legislature in Georgia -- where turnout helped Biden win in November, and two Democrats win the state’s Senate seats in January -- approved a new measure changing the state’s absentee voting laws, over the objections of Democrats and voting rights advocates.

a group of people holding a sign posing for the camera: Protesters gather outside of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta to protest HB 531, which would place tougher restrictions on voting in Georgia, March 1, 2021. © Dustin Chambers/Reuters Protesters gather outside of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta to protest HB 531, which would place tougher restrictions on voting in Georgia, March 1, 2021.

And on Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case over two Arizona election laws, with conservatives on the court weighing whether to limit what Democrats consider to be key protections against racial discrimination in the Voting Rights Act.

MORE: Supreme Court wrestles with voting rights and race discrimination

"There is a new and palpable intensity to voter suppression, particularly targeting communities of color,” Daniel Weiner, the deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Election Reform Program, said of the new voting law proposals pushed by Republicans this year. "There is, frankly, an alarming willingness to push these policies based on false premises, and those are premises that have been amplified by the former president."

The Supreme Court may be set to gut voting rights — but Democrats can still stop them

  The Supreme Court may be set to gut voting rights — but Democrats can still stop them The GOP-dominated SCOTUS longs to end the Voting Rights Act. Democrats can save it by nuking the filibuster Hundreds of voters lined up early in Cranberry, Pennsylvania at the Cranberry Highlands Golf Course on November 03, 2020. Many did not trust early voting (especially fears of mail delays) and opted to vote on election day in person. The average wait time here was two hours. Michael S.

Congressional Republicans are expected to oppose the legislation on the floor, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., accusing Democrats of prioritizing legislation “to protect themselves to get reelected” over other major issues.

"The priorities here are wrong," McCarthy said Tuesday during debate on the legislation.

Lawmakers spent much of Tuesday considering amendments to the package.

In addition to the voting law changes, the legislation would require presidential candidates to release at least ten years of tax returns, and the spending of presidential inaugural committees -- along with other provisions crafted in 2019 in response to Trump’s unwillingness to share his tax returns, and the federal investigation into his inaugural spending. It would also require campaigns to report any contacts with foreign officials.

The nearly 800-page package also includes provisions to bolster election security at the state and federal levels, require social media platforms to maintain databases of political ads, and require states to set up independent redistricting commissions to redraw their congressional districts and prevent partisan gerrymandering -- two provisions Democrats point to ahead of the redrawing of the congressional map following the 2020 census.

Challenges to Black voting rights harks back to Jim Crow era

  Challenges to Black voting rights harks back to Jim Crow era Lawmakers and historians note a barrage of restrictive voting laws since the November presidential election that seem aimed at turning back the clock."On one side, you have concerns about fraud prompting restrictions on voting, and on the other side, you have concerns about turnout prompting a focus on greater access to the polls," said Rebecca Green, a law professor and co-director of William and Mary Law School's Election Law Program.

The legislation would also create a new 6-to-1 matching system for political donations of up to $200 for presidential and congressional candidates who reject large contributions -- which Republicans have decried as public financing of campaigns. The funds would be generated by financial and corporate settlements.

The American Action Network, a GOP advocacy group, is seizing on that line of attack, running digital ads in 15 Democratic congressional districts urging votes against the legislation.

The legislation, like other key pieces of House Democrats’ agenda, will head to the Democrat-controlled Senate, but is expected to languish given a lack of Republican support. Democrats need the backing of 10 Republicans to advance the package past the 60-vote threshold.

Still, advocates say the passage of the measure is necessary in the House to put more pressure on Senate Democrats to consider changing the chamber’s rules and eliminating the legislative filibuster, in order to pass their priorities through the narrowly-divided Senate when Democrats control Congress and the White House.

"It’s going to be hard without looking at reforming the filibuster," Sarbanes said of passing HR 1. "This sends a very clear message to our colleagues in the Senate of the high priority."

That pressure could also build in the coming weeks when the House sends immigration reform, gun control and criminal justice reform legislation to the Senate, pitting progressives against moderates such as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., who fiercely opposes changing the Senate’s rules.

Inside Team Trump’s New Plot to Suppress the Vote Under Biden .
Donald Trump has made it clear that he wants election crackdowns to emerge as one of the defining legacies of his post-presidency, having failed to cling to power during Republicans’ anti-democratic blitz during and following the 2020 race. And various GOP lawmakers and some of the ex-president’s most prominent allies are lining up to assist him, as Democrats watch in horror and strategize their counter-offensives. These national and stateThese national and state policy battles have rapidly developed into one of the most critical partisan fights of Joe Biden’s young presidency, with both parties viewing the outcomes as increasingly vital to their survival and future dominance at the ballot box.

usr: 0
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