Politics Simple majorities in Congress can stop voter suppression
Biden and Harris to focus on voting rights Thursday, expand DNC program
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will hold separate events Thursday to focus attention on Democratic efforts to combat voter suppression and protect voting rights nationwide, Democratic officials tell CNN. © Evan Vucci/AP President Joe Biden speaks about infrastructure negotiations, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 24, 2021, in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris stands at left. Harris will announce the expansion of the Democratic National Committee's "I Will Vote" campaign with an event in the Washington, DC, area, according to a committee official.
As the threat of voter suppression grows in several states, the U.S. Constitution provides a remedy. Simple majorities in Congress, plus the president, can stop voter suppression - if they choose to act.
of the Constitution states: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing (sic) Senators."
Alexander Hamilton'sstates that the purpose of this provision was to ensure that the federal government had the power to act at any time to protect its legitimacy. This could be in the extreme case where a state might fail to hold a federal election. Or, a state controlled by an anti-federal faction might burden federal elections in particular. Or, as in the current context, a state faction might seek to suppress the vote of a significant part of its electorate to influence the outcome of federal and state elections in its favor. Section 4 allows Congress to address the resulting impact of such suppression on the public's acceptance of the outcome of federal elections.
Colorado's top elections official calls out lies, 'blatant abuse,' and voter suppression being used by GOP officials 'a tool to steal future elections'
Secretary of State Jena Griswold told Insider that she is concerned for her safety in the wake of lies about the 2020 election.Two years later, Griswold helped administer a presidential election - in a place where all voters receive a ballot in the mail - that state and national officials deemed "the most secure in American history.
Clearly, Congress can act in this regard, but the Senate's filibuster rule dictates that, before a bill can be voted on, a cloture motion must pass by 60 votes. The question, then, is this: Does the Constitution's specification that Congress may "at any time" by law make or alter such regulations mean that the filibuster rule is unconstitutional in this case? It seems clear to me that it is unconstitutional. How can Congress vote "at any time" if the Senate rule states that a cloture motion must pass first?
In addition, the use of the phrase "at any time" is unique. It clearly emphasizes Congress's freedom to act in such situations.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.)to the Senate's filibuster rule for legislation that applies to the Constitution. That may well be a procedure that can gain the necessary support in Congress. But an amendment to the filibuster rule is not needed since the Constitution itself provides the remedy for election reform. The phrase "at any time" is the carve-out.
Texans Wait 17 Hours at State Capitol to Speak Out on GOP Restrictive Voting Bill
"I'm truly grateful to everyone who came out & especially to those who are still testifying (at 4:15am!)," Beto O'Rourke tweeted.GOP lawmakers in Texas are pushing to pass new restrictive voting measures that would tighten the rules around voting by mail, rein in drive-thru voting, and bar local election officials from preemptively mailing out applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters, among other changes slammed by voting rights activists and Democrats.
Opponents of this reading of the Constitution might argue that the Framers tolerated voting restrictions much more severe than those now seen as potentially threatening the legitimacy of federal elections. That argument was used in the U.S. Supreme Court'sin 1857 to deprive Blacks of any entitlement to protection of the law. The better understanding of the Constitution is that its terms and purposes must be applied to current conditions and not those of 1789.
Today, there can be no question that suppression of the vote of Black and Brown urban voters would call into reasonable question the legitimacy of the outcome. Takeas an example. It requires a photo ID to vote by absentee ballot, even though the photo serves no purpose in that context. A simple reference to a number on the voter registration card supplied to every registered voter confirms identity without imposing an additional burden on the voter. The law cannot be seen as anything but suppressive of the vote of such urban voters.
Texas Dems Are Fighting for Democracy—Why Won’t Washington’s?
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including Democrats’ political courage. On Monday morning, Texas Democrats stopped playing by the GOP’s rules in a state Republicans control and threw a wrench into Gov. Greg Abbott’s efforts to ram through a slew of voter suppression laws. How did Democrats manage to actually stall the Republican war on voting? They stopped compromising and started fighting. Fifty-eight Democratic members of the state’s House packed their bags and fled the state on Monday afternoon, just enough to paralyze legislative business in Austin.
In the 2020 election,- 65 percent for President Biden and 35 percent for former President Trump. Now metro and low-income voters who lack a driver's license with a photo ID will have to take the time to secure another form of photo ID or locate and copy a bank statement, current utility bill, paycheck, or government document showing the voter's name and address. Not every member of a family unit who is eligible to vote may be able to produce such a document.
Rep. Clyburn's proposed carve-out is one solution, but the Constitution is already explicit. Congress can act "at any time" to prevent voter suppression. How much more authorization does Congress need before it acts to protect the integrity of voting?
Evan A. Davis, an attorney, is a former counsel to New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and was president of the New York City Bar Association (2000-2002).
Biden and White House sharpen strategy to confront epic challenges .
Joe Biden's presidency is only six months old, but the mood inside the White House can often feel like a race against time. © Susan Walsh/AP President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with his Cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. "The clock is running. We all know that," a senior adviser to Biden said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The President certainly knows that.