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Deep partisanship revealed as Congress unveils competing ballot measures – Wake-up call

By Stephen Groves, Christina A. Cassidy (Associated Press)

ATLANTA (AP) — In the coming weeks, Congress plans to strengthen voting and electoral laws in an effort to reflect the wide divide between Democrats and Republicans in protecting the foundations of American democracy. I plan to consider it.

Each party will release separate and competing proposals, which have little chance of success in a split government, but are likely to be used to rally supporters for the 2024 elections.

House Republicans on Monday released proposals to strengthen voting laws and counter concerns that laws passed in recent years by Republican-led state legislatures are penalizing some voters. Meanwhile, Democrats are preparing to resubmit their own proposal to set federal voting standards and restore protections under the Voting Rights Act.

As the country prepares for the next presidential election, the separate measures highlight how the two major parties act out of sync and are often at odds over voting procedures. deaf.

House Republicans said they were sending a message by announcing plans in Atlanta the night before Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. MLB has canceled midsummer games outside the city in 2021, citing opposition to states enacting laws restricting voting.

The event also kicked off a push in the House of Representatives to pass the Republican “America’s Election Confidence Act.”

“This bill is the most substantive bill to be introduced to the House in a generation,” Wisconsin Republican Rep. Brian Still, chairman of the House Trustees Committee, said at a news conference Monday at a diner in the city. It’s a conservative election fairness bill.” suburb of Atlanta.

“This system will increase voter confidence and protect the constitution by ensuring that the states, rather than the federal government, retain primary control over elections,” Steil said at a public hearing last month. Stated. “This is in stark contrast to House Democrats’ efforts in the last two Congresses to nationalize the electoral system and centralize it in Washington, DC.”

Since the 2020 presidential election, many Republican-led state legislatures have added ID requirements to mail-in ballots, reduced or banned the use of ballot drop boxes, and limited the ability of someone to return a ballot on their behalf. bottom.

Republicans in Georgia have touted the state’s sweeping 2021 voting law as a model for national reform, and the 2022 midterm elections and strong voter turnout suggest the bill will lead to voter suppression. He claimed it was a rebuke to concerns that

“The Georgia Legislature has worked to build a system that makes voting easier, produces auditable and verifiable results, gives voters the choice of how they vote, and uses voter ID to build trust. said Scott, a former Georgia congressman. Turner, a Republican, told the House Trustees at a hearing in May.

Critics say voter advocacy groups need to step up efforts to combat the effects of the law, invest more money in educating voters and helping them vote confidently in the face of new hurdles. claimed to be.

The House Republican bill would encourage states to research voter lists, conduct post-election audits, and conduct other checks of voter eligibility. And set an example of law for Washington, D.C. voters by allowing non-citizens to vote in local offices and repealing district policies that prohibit the mailing of unsolicited absentee ballots by election officials. is also intended.

The Republican bill eases financial reporting requirements and other restrictions on political parties, and also includes provisions to protect nonprofits engaged in political advocacy from disclosing their donors.

It’s all done in the name of restoring voter confidence in “election integrity” and results. But what Republicans often don’t say is that former President Donald Trump fueled many of these allegations with baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

The House Trustees allowed two Republicans on the Georgia legislative delegation, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Mike Collins, to attend Monday’s hearing. Green, a close ally of President Trump and a repeat of his campaign lies, has used his time to rant against “open borders,” U.S. aid to Ukraine, and “trans ideology.” threw up. He also argued that voters believed there was fraud in the 2020 election and expressed support for legislation requiring ID cards to vote.

Collins questioned the security of the machines of Dominion Voting Systems, a company that has been falsely accused by the right.

Democrats argue that persistent attacks on the voting process by President Trump and his allies show that action is needed to ensure free and fair elections.

“America is under threat from election deniers and radical anti-vote forces that undermine our democracy,” New York Rep. Joe Morrell, a senior Democrat on the House Control Committee, said. “In contrast, our policy provides a national standard that ensures that all eligible Americans can participate in elections that are accessible, safe and transparent.”

A long-running effort to enact federal vote protection fell through last year when Democrats failed to secure enough votes in the Senate for Republicans to defeat procedural rules to block protection.

Little has changed since then, but Democrats insist it’s important to keep pushing the issue.

“Soon we will be back on the move to bring the much-needed true voting rights bill to Congress,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday on the Senate floor.

Democrats hope the proposal will largely mirror the latest legislation finalized last year with the involvement of West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. He has sought a compromise that could garner some Republican support, removing some of the controversial provisions and pushing for maintaining state-approved voter ID requirements under certain circumstances. rice field.

Ultimately, Republicans continued to unite in opposition, claiming the bill was a Democratic power grab aimed at hijacking the federal election. The John Lewis Voting Rights Promotion Act, named in honor of Georgia’s former civil rights leader and congressman who died in 2020, reopens federal review of voting law changes in certain jurisdictions. It enables

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court suspended a process known as preclearance, ruling that the formula for identifying which jurisdictions to include for review was outdated.

Meanwhile, states have not waited for federal action, leading to waves of election-related bills that vary wildly based on the state and which party is in power. In Democratic-majority areas, lawmakers are focusing on expanding access to the vote, overhauling the redistricting process, and restoring voting rights to those who have committed past felonies. .

California, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington are among the states that have passed comprehensive voting rights laws in recent years.

In Michigan, legislators announced nine days of early voting, the use of photo IDs and signed affidavits to verify voters’ identities, and the use of a permanent absentee voter list in 2022. It is busy passing legislation to implement voter approval initiatives. other actions. Lawmakers are also considering a proposal to enact state-level voting rights legislation that would create a pre-approval process for state-level review of local ballot changes under certain circumstances.

Michigan State Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a second-term Democrat, said Republicans in the U.S. House have so far been reluctant to confront false election claims and adopt voter-friendly policies.

“What we’ve seen in this Congress over the past six months is not to confront the lies about democracy, but to dig deep into it,” Benson said. “Laws that propagate and codify misinformation, rather than expose it, are what voters in Michigan and elsewhere really need to restore and ensure election confidence. will go against.”

He also urged Congress to provide a sustained level of campaign funding rather than handing out different amounts each year. A recent Republican budget proposal eliminated federal funding for state and local elections offices to improve election technology and security.

At a House Committee hearing on Monday, Democrat Bernetta Nuridin, a former election commissioner for Fulton counties, including Atlanta, told lawmakers that changes to local election laws could certainly help voters. but cautioned against pursuing partisan proposals. “Only full transparency and consensual rather than partisan electoral legislation will increase voter confidence,” she said.


Mr. Groves reported from Washington.

https://www.mcall.com/2023/07/10/deep-partisanship-will-be-on-display-as-congress-releases-competing-voting-bills/ Deep partisanship revealed as Congress unveils competing ballot measures – Wake-up call

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