WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a revamped voting rights bill that would expand voter registration as well as create nonpartisan redistricting committees, but the measure is still likely to face an uphill battle in an evenly divided Senate.
Some Michigan residents were among thousands rallying Saturday in the nation’s capital to protest a recent legislation they say suppresses voter rights, particularly for people of color and young people
A House panel released a new report on Friday that will help lawmakers craft legislation named after the late Georgia civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis that aims to protect voting rights across the United States.
Republicans during a U.S. House Judiciary panel hearing on Tuesday argued that a bill that would reinstate a preclearance section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act is unnecessary because there is no discrimination in voting.
U.S. Senate Republicans shut down efforts to open debate on a sweeping elections reform and voting rights bill brought to the Senate floor by Democrats Tuesday night. In a party-line 50-50 vote, the Democratic measure, S.1, titled the For the People Act, did not reach the 60-vote threshold required to end a filibuster and advance. Democrats did pick up the last-minute support of a wavering member, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, and presented a united front, but still fell short without any GOP support.
The Senate passed three bills Wednesday that would make it more difficult for voters to vote absentee and at the ballot box if they aren’t able to present a state-issued photo ID, despite fierce objections from Democrats that the new rules would be especially harmful to vulnerable voters and communities of color.
“We’re talking about corporate contributions that helped elect the legislators driving the effort and supporting the effort to restrict voting, limit voting, and change election outcomes,” Center for Political Accountability President Bruce Freed said. “This creates risk for companies today. You not only have investors but consumers who will change their buying patterns as a result of this. It has a reputational impact on a company, and it has an impact on company employee morale.”
The Department of Justice announced Friday that it is doubling its enforcement attorneys who will work to protect voting rights. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s announcement came as Republicans in state legislatures introduce and pass restrictive voting laws, such as limiting ballot boxes and requiring voter identification.
The Michigan Senate Elections Committee voted on three bills Wednesday that could reform voting procedures to mandate photo identification being presented when applying for an absentee ballot or casting a ballot.
Members of a U.S. House panel on Monday debated whether some state elections laws disenfranchise certain voters, including people of color, and split along party lines in their conclusions.
A Senate committee on Wednesday continued discussions on bills in a sweeping GOP voting restriction package that’s been widely criticized by voting rights activists and Democratic officials.
Dozens of Michigan company leaders spoke up Tuesday against a voter restriction package that was introduced by Republicans in the Legislature last month.
A U.S. House elections panel on Thursday heard from witnesses about the need to craft a new formula that identifies which states or jurisdictions have problematic histories of racial discrimination when it comes to access to the ballot box.
In Michigan, Republican lawmakers this week introduced a 39-bill package that would ban unsolicited mass mailing of absentee ballot applications, prohibit pre-paid postage on absentee ballot envelopes for absentee ballots, require a photo ID, curb the hours people could drop off their ballots in boxes and require video surveillance of such drop boxes.
Columnist Sharon Dolente writes, “Michiganders want and deserve a voting system that works for all of us, regardless of our race, gender, religion or ZIP code. The eagerness with which communities turned out to vote in 2020 was historic and encouraging. Our elected leaders should follow the lead of the voters of Michigan and build on that success in protecting the right to vote and expanding access to the ballot.”
The House passed sweeping voting rights, redistricting, campaign finance and ethics reform, late Wednesday night along party lines in a 220 to 210 vote, but the historic package will face an uphill battle in the Senate as no Republicans currently support the bill.