EXPLAINER: the differences between the Democrats’ 2 voting bills | New policies
By NICHOLAS RICCARDI, Associated Press
DENVER (AP) – The Democratic Party’s hopes of passing a massive election overhaul may have suffered a fatal blow when West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin became the first party member to say he would not support it not, ensuring the bill, known as HR1, would not pass the Senate.
Instead, Manchin prefers an update to the voting rights law known as HR4, or the voting rights law of John Lewis, named after the late congressman and civil rights leader. .
There is a big difference between the two invoices. HR1 is an ambitious proposal that would transform all aspects of elections and campaigns across the country, including how they are funded. Written in 2017, when Democrats were not in power, this is often referred to as a messaging bill – a proposal for candidates to brag about the election campaign and not designed specifically to garner enough votes to pass a tightly divided Congress.
In contrast, the John Lewis Act is a relatively narrow bill designed to address a specific problem, in this case responding to a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that made it more difficult for the federal government to block discriminatory election laws. and the redistribution proposals.
Democrats will struggle to push either bill through Congress as they seek a way to tackle what they see as Republican assault on voting rights in the state legislature. . Here is an overview of the differences between invoices:
HR1’s issue shows its importance to Democrats. Also known as the For the People Act, it became HR1 because it was the first bill introduced in the House after Democrats took over the chamber in the 2018 election. (The Senate version is known under the name S1.)
The bill deals with a bit of a lot of topics. It is changing the way people vote by automatically registering every eligible citizen, ensuring mail and in-person voting options in every state, and effectively overriding voter identification laws.
The legislation would also establish bipartite commissions to draw the boundaries of legislative constituencies and would require a redistribution not favorable to either of the main parties. The provision has the potential to create dozens of newly competitive ridings and, according to supporters, would combat partisan polarization in the House.
The bill would provide campaigns with $ 6 in public money for every $ 1 in small donations they collect. Finally, groups currently protected from disclosure by their donors should identify their funders. The latest provision targets a 2010 Supreme Court ruling known as the Citizens United ruling that allows “black money” groups to hide their backers even when participating in elections.
The John Lewis Act was drafted in response to a different Supreme Court ruling. He is trying to effectively reverse the Shelby County case in 2013, in which the Conservative majority in court rejected the formula used by the federal government to determine which states had such a history of racial discrimination in elections and should, under of the law on the right to vote Approval of the Ministry of Justice before implementing new electoral laws or redrawing legislative constituencies.
HR4 would implement an updated formula designed to meet the Shelby County Court test. This would once again require a dozen states, mostly from the South, to get approval from the Justice Department’s civil rights division before making these changes.
The bill would also make it easier for the department to send election observers and for courts to block election law changes for violating constitutional protections guaranteeing the right to vote for all U.S. citizens. And, of course, some of the elements of HR1 could still be added if the John Lewis Act became Democrats’ primary vehicle for an electoral overhaul.
WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF BILLS ON NEW STATE LAWS ON VOTING?
The Democrats’ election campaign does not take place in a vacuum. Republican-controlled states pass new voting restrictions in remarkable clip – the Brennan Center for Justice, a group that supports both HR1 and HR4 bills, has identified 14 states that have passed 22 laws imposing new restrictions on when and how Americans vote. The GOP push was fueled by former President Donald Trump’s lies that he lost the election due to fraud.
HR1 could override some of these laws as it creates national standards for voting access. For example, new Arizona and Florida laws that could remove people from state mail-in lists might be moot, as all voters would now be eligible to vote by mail.
But the John Lewis law would have no impact. The Department of Justice would not be required to approve new laws, not those that were passed before the bill was approved. In addition, the “preclearance” provision in the bill would only affect a dozen states and a few more counties or cities that meet its standard. Manchin has spoken of expanding preclearance nationwide, but that could run into issues with the Supreme Court.
In addition, future laws could only be blocked under the new legal formula of the bill if they were found to be racially discriminatory by making it more difficult for specific racial groups to vote. Laws that present new hurdles for other groups – such as no longer accepting student IDs as voting identification, as Montana did – could still be allowed.
More importantly, neither of the two bills would stop a tendency by Republicans to facilitate interference by partisan politicians in elections. In Georgia, for example, the GOP-controlled state legislature will now appoint most of the members of a council that can replace local election officials. In Texas, Republicans are considering legislation that would make it easier for a judge to overturn an election.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF EITHER PROCEDURE?
Not good. Democrats control the House and Senate, but only tightly. HR1 passed the House but is stuck in the Senate, where Manchin’s opposition means the bill doesn’t even get a majority and falls short of the 60 votes it needs to break a blockage and pass. Currently, no Republican supports the bill.
The John Lewis Act has not even made it to this Congress due to a lengthy fact-gathering and hearing process required to meet the Supreme Court’s new standard. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter to her colleagues on Tuesday predicted the bill would not be introduced until the fall.
Earlier updates to the Voting Rights Act were passed unanimously by the Senate – 98-0 in 2006 – but earlier versions of HR4 attracted only one Republican sponsor, Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska. It shows just how partisan even the elementary act of voting has become, a pre-Trump phenomenon.
Indeed, the leader of the Republican Senate, Mitch McConnell, castigated the John Lewis law on Tuesday. “It’s already illegal to discriminate in voting on the basis of race, so I think it’s unnecessary,” McConnell said.
The time is not on the side of Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, said Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action, a conservative group that opposes the two bills. “Every day we get closer to 2022, the harder it is for Schumer to reach the finish line.”
It’s unclear. He is the former secretary of state for West Virginia and warns that any overly partisan electoral reform will only increase mistrust in elections. On the other hand, he says there must be a new electoral overhaul to protect voting rights.
One of those principles may have to give way.
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