clearn.png
Thursday December 2nd, 2021 11:34PM

Democrats launch sweeping bid to overhaul US election laws

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stacey Abrams, whose voting rights work helped make Georgia into a swing state, exhorted Congress on Thursday to reject “outright lies" that have historically restricted access to the ballot as Democrats began their push for a sweeping overhaul of election and ethics laws.

“A lie cloaked in the seductive appeal of election integrity has weakened access to democracy for millions,” Abrams, a Democrat who narrowly lost Georgia's 2018 gubernatorial race, said during a committee hearing for the bill, which was introduced as H.R. 1 to signal its importance to the party's agenda.

Democrats feel a sense of urgency to enact the legislation ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, when their narrow majorities in the House and Senate will be at risk. The bill, which good-government groups have championed, is advancing against a backdrop of Republican-controlled states seizing on former President Donald Trump's false claims about a stolen 2020 election to push legislation that would make it more difficult to vote. Democrats argue that voters of color, a key constituency for the party, would be disproportionately affected.

It also comes on the cusp of a once-in-a-decade redrawing of congressional districts, a highly partisan affair that is typically controlled by state legislatures. With Republicans controlling the majority of statehouse, the process alone could help the GOP win enough seats to recapture the House. The Democratic bill would instead require that the boundaries be drawn by independent commissions.

“Every political player knows what’s at stake,” said Fred Wertheimer, the president of Democracy 21, a nonpartisan good-government group based in Washington. “There is a race between what is going on in Republican state legislatures, and this effort to pass federal rules to protect the right to vote of every eligible citizen.”

To Republicans, the proposal amounts to a massive federal intrusion in locally administered elections. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blasted the measure the last time it was up for debate in Congress, calling it the “Democrat Politician Protection Act.”

“If this bill were to become law, it would be the largest expansion of the federal government’s role in elections that we have ever seen,” said Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. “The harm to the states’ electoral process outweighs the minor burdens imposed on the rights to vote.”

The debate over the measure comes in the tumultuous aftermath of the 2020 election, which saw record mail-in voting because of the pandemic. After losing the White House, Trump repeated ad nauseam a false claim that the outcome was due to widespread voter fraud as he sought to overturn President Joe Biden's win.

But there was no widespread fraud, as has been confirmed by election officials across the country and then-Attorney General William Barr. Dozens of legal challenges to the election put forth by Trump and his allies were dismissed, including by the Supreme Court.

Republican-controlled state legislatures, spurred to action by Trump’s claims, have nonetheless moved to put in place new voting restrictions in dozens of states, including Abrams' Georgia.

That's where congressional Democrats' effort comes into play.

Citing Congress' constitutional authority to set the time, place and manner of federal elections, Democrats want national rules that they say would make voting more uniform, accessible and fair across the nation. The bill would stymie state GOP efforts by mandating early voting, same-day registration and other long-sought reforms that Republicans reject.

The 791-page measure, which was first introduced two years ago, would also require dark money political groups to disclose anonymous donors, as well as create reporting requirements for online political ads. It would appropriate nearly $2 billion for election infrastructure upgrades. And in a rearview nod at Trump, it would obligate presidents to disclose their tax returns.

Despite staunch GOP opposition, the bill is all but certain to pass the House. But daunting challenges lay ahead in the Senate, which is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. On some legislation, it takes only 51 votes to pass, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker.

On a deeply divisive bill like this one, they would need 60 votes under the Senate’s current rules to overcome a Republican filibuster — a tally they are unlikely to reach.

Under pressure from the party’s left flank, Democrats have proposed eliminating the filibuster but lack the votes to do so. It’s an open question whether Democrats will find ways around that hurdle, potentially by mustering the votes to change the filibuster rules to exempt specific types of legislation — including those that deal with voting rights.

Given the closing window to pass legislation before 2022, many in the party remain hopeful it will be signed into law by Biden, whose administration has said the bill is a priority.

“We may not get the opportunity to make this change again for many, many decades, so let's not miss that window,” said John Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat who is the bill’s lead sponsor. “Shame on us if we don’t get this done.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General House Election News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Democrats launch sweeping bid to overhaul US election laws
Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic gubernatorial nominee whose voting rights work helped make Georgia a swing state, is exhorting Congress to reject “outright lies” that have historically restricted access to the ballot
7:34PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Christian Siriano offers mountain glam for 2nd pandemic show
Christian Siriano opened his second show of the pandemic Thursday with two ladies in bed
7:32PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Lady Gaga's dog walker shot, French bulldogs stolen in LA
Police say Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot and two of the singer's French bulldogs were stolen in Hollywood during an armed robbery
7:29PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
White House seems averse to Senate minimum wage power play
The White House is showing a reluctance to pursue a Senate procedural power play if that's what's needed to preserve Democrats’ bid to hike the minimum wage
7:05PM ( 37 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: What were the warnings before the Capitol riot?
Capitol Police leadership had plenty of intelligence warning that armed extremists were planning to target the Capitol over President Donald Trump’s election loss, according to new testimony Thursday
6:50PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Former Michigan Gov. Granholm confirmed as energy secretary
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has won Senate confirmation to be energy secretary
6:49PM ( 53 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Game on, again: GameStop surges and no one truly knows why
After weeks of going dormant, shares of GameStop have suddenly shot higher again, jumping 75% in the last hour of trading Wednesday and another nearly 19% Thursday
4:57PM ( 2 hours ago )
New US envoy starts challenge to restore US on world stage
Linda Thomas-Greenfield has presented her credentials as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
4:35PM ( 3 hours ago )
Tribes want Native statue to replace one tied to massacre
Tribal members have urged Colorado lawmakers to replace a statue of a U.S. soldier who took part in the slaughter of Native Americans during the Civil War with the likeness of an Indigenous woman
1:59PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Police say 800 pro-Trump rioters invaded Capitol
The acting head of the U.S. Capitol Police says about 800 pro-Trump rioters forced their way into the halls of Congress during the Jan. 6 insurrection
12:02PM ( 7 hours ago )
Russia hosts new Kyrgyzstan leader on his 1st foreign trip
Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting the newly elected president of Kyrgyzstan, voicing hope for the Central Asian nation's political stabilization after it saw a violent change of government for the third time in 15 years
10:21AM ( 1 day ago )
For Senate rules arbiter, minimum wage is latest minefield
Elizabeth MacDonough has guided the Senate through two impeachment trials
10:22PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Biden says all Americans must 'defend the truth'
President Joe Biden is responding to the acquittal of Donald Trump by stating that all Americans, especially the nation’s leaders, have a duty and responsibility “to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”
11:01PM ( 1 week ago )
The Latest: Pelosi scoffs at 'cowardly' GOP senators
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scoffing at the “cowardly” Senate Republicans who voted to acquit Donald Trump of inciting the Capitol siege
5:36PM ( 1 week ago )
The Latest: Trump lawyer jokes he's 'going to Disney World'
Trump lawyer jokes after acquittal: “We’re going to Disney World!”
5:10PM ( 1 week ago )
General House Election News
Kemp lets teachers, some with health issues get vaccines
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp says child care workers and K-12 school employees can start getting COVID-19 vaccines in the state starting on March 8
4:45PM ( 2 hours ago )
Things to Know: US Hospitalizations plunge, but still high
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. has dropped by 80,000 in six weeks
3:49PM ( 3 hours ago )
Braves rookie CF Pache banking on postseason in bid to start
Atlanta Braves 22-year-old rookie Cristian Pache is trying to win a starting job in center field this spring
3:10PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Christian Siriano offers mountain glam for 2nd pandemic show
Christian Siriano opened his second show of the pandemic Thursday with two ladies in bed
7:32PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Lady Gaga's dog walker shot, French bulldogs stolen in LA
Police say Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot and two of the singer's French bulldogs were stolen in Hollywood during an armed robbery
7:29PM ( 13 minutes ago )
The Latest: Brazils signs vaccine deal with Indian company
On the same day Brazil reached the grim milestone of 250,000 deaths by COVID-19, the country’s health ministry signed a deal with Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech for the purchase of 20 million doses of the Covaxin vaccine, which is yet to be approved by local regulators
7:27PM ( 14 minutes ago )
S. Korea injects first shots in public vaccination campaign
South Korea has administered its first available shots of coronavirus vaccines to people at long-term care facilities, launching a mass immunization campaign
7:20PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Fungo golf for Giants pitchers; fans for MLB spring games
San Francisco Giants pitchers turned batting practice into Fungo golf
7:08PM ( 34 minutes ago )