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Politics The John Lewis Voting Rights Act Picks Up Steam

22:40  22 april  2021
22:40  22 april  2021 Source:   nymag.com

Protecting the fundamental right of all Americans to have access to the voting booth

  Protecting the fundamental right of all Americans to have access to the voting booth It is time we once again protect access to the ballot, rather than continuing to erect barriers that seek to suppress the votes and voices of communities. Through this process, we can work together to pass fair, commonsense legislation that restores and protects the fundamental right of all Americans to have unfettered access to the voting booth.Butterfield represents North Carolina's 1st District and is chairman of the Committee on House Administration's Subcommittee on Elections.

As battles over voting rights continue in state legislatures around the country, attention in Washington has been focused on H.R. 1/S. 1, the For the People Act, a sort of kitchen-sink omnibus voting-and-elections bill the House has now passed twice.

John Lewis wearing a suit and tie: John Lewis deserves great credit for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Restoring it would be an appropriate memorial. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images © Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images John Lewis deserves great credit for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Restoring it would be an appropriate memorial. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

It has approximately a zero chance of passage in the Senate, thanks to provisions that Republicans argue are remote from “voting rights,” such gerrymandering reform and public financing of congressional campaigns. The bill also preempts a vast array of state election laws in favor of highly prescriptive federal procedures, including automatic and same-day voter registration, mandated no-excuse voting by mail and third-party ballot collections, and restrictions on voting-roll purges. It’s entirely possible that federal courts would deem portions of the legislation unconstitutional. And more to the point, Senator Joe Manchin has made it clear he doesn’t support the For the People Act in its current form, and certainly wouldn’t support an exception to the filibuster to enable its passage on a party-line vote.

Why Is Voting So Hard in Blue States?

  Why Is Voting So Hard in Blue States? Democrats are criticizing Republicans for pushing restrictive voting laws. But states such as Joe Biden’s Delaware can make casting a ballot difficult.Biden has assailed Georgia’s new voting law as an atrocity akin to “Jim Crow in the 21st century” for the impact it could have on Black citizens. But even once the GOP-passed measure takes effect, Georgia citizens will still have far more opportunities to vote before Election Day than their counterparts in the president’s home state, where one in three residents is Black or Latino. To Republicans, Biden’s criticism of the Georgia law smacks of hypocrisy.

So election-law experts like Rick Hasen (along with yours truly) have argued the president and congressional Democrats should consider making a strategic shift to less controversial voting-rights measures, particularly the John Lewis Voting Rights Enhancement Act, another bill that passed the House in the last Congress. And now, such advice is being advanced via the much more morally compelling voices of the Congressional Black Caucus, Politico reports. As CBC member Anthony Brown of Maryland told reporters, the more focused legislation “would provide a real good opportunity for a handful of Democratic senators who want to hold onto the filibuster [to say] ‘Yes, we can do it on this John Lewis Voting Rights [Act].’” There’s also sentiment in the CBC that a decent number of Republicans might be brought onboard, thanks to widespread GOP support for the original VRA, expressed most recently when Congress enacted, and George W. Bush signed, an extension of the law in 2006.

Corporate America sends mixed messages on voting rights

  Corporate America sends mixed messages on voting rights As corporations line up to endorse opposition to state-level voting reforms, the country’s largest corporate lobby announced Tuesday that it opposes a Democratic bill aimed at expanding voting access. © Provided by Washington Examiner The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to senators this week urging them to vote against S.1, or the “For the People Act” — a sweeping piece of legislation that would federalize many of the ways states run their elections and impose new campaign finance and redistricting rules.

Simply put, the John Lewis VRA is intended to fix the enforcement provisions of the original VRA that were gutted by the Supreme Court in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision. The Court’s conservative majority held that the formula for determining whether jurisdictions were subject to the law’s Justice Department pre-clearance procedure for voting and election changes by state and local governments (mostly focusing on southern states with a long history of racist voter suppression) were outdated. So those drafting the latest version of the John Lewis bill are focused on fine-tuning that formula so that an even more conservative SCOTUS cannot strike it down again. That is why the bill has not yet been passed by the House or introduced in the Senate, as Politico explains:

“The [Supreme] Court is calling on us to update the formula and so that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), a CBC member who chairs the House Administration subcommittee overseeing federal elections. “You cannot just snap your fingers and update a formula. You’ve got to collect evidence” before a new version of the bill is released, he added.

Inside Helen McCrory's 13-year marriage to husband Damian Lewis

  Inside Helen McCrory's 13-year marriage to husband Damian Lewis The couple's devotion to one another shone brightly for all to see, with Damian saying the actress died peacefully at home surrounded by their two teenage children.Damian, 50, stood by the actress' side as she secretly battled the disease, with Helen brushing off her hoarse voice in her final TV appearance last month to selflessly talk about their charity work.

Butterfield’s target date for getting that job done and beginning a push for passage of the legislation is June 30. But there is a reason for urgency beyond the need to capitalize on the momentum created by the backlash to voter-suppression laws in Republican-controlled states, namely Georgia. Proponents want to get a restored VRA in place before states that might be subject to the pre-clearance requirements finish up the decennial redistricting process and create congressional and state legislative maps intended to stay in place until 2032. These are precisely the kind of decisions the Justice Department used to scrutinize under the pre–Shelby County VRA.

It’s possible, of course, that, despite past GOP support for the original VRA, today’s radicalized congressional Republicans (particularly those from the states most affected by fresh federal scrutiny) will object to the John Lewis Act just as uniformly as they have opposed the For the People Act. Why not go for the broader legislation if this is all just a messaging gesture? The answer is that the embarrassment — perhaps even the shame — of opposing the restoration of voting-rights protections that Republicans routinely used to support might erode such opposition. And if not, then the manifest evidence that the GOP is simply obstructing all Democratic legislation — in this case, in a very bad cause — might strengthen the case for filibuster reform. It certainly seems worth a try.

Biden-aligned nonprofit launches voting rights initiative .
The group listed nine states as its “initial priority states.”Building Back Together said its voting rights program would be led by Bob Bauer, who advised Biden’s presidential campaign and was White House counsel during the Obama administration.

usr: 7
This is interesting!