In what is no surprise, WABE Atlanta reported that the Republican-led House of Representatives in Georgia passed their discriminatory laws relating to voting. To revisit, HB 531 adds ID requirements for absentee ballots and limits the use of drop boxes. The bill also bans use of private funding, restricts the use of private venues as polling sites except in an emergency, and reduces early and weekend voting. The sponsor of the bill, Barry Fleming, said he did it “to bring back the confidence of our voters back into our election system.” No, he brought it to make it more difficult for minorities to come out in droves as they did in the last election, improving the chances of Republican victory. While this bill still must pass the Senate, there is little doubt that it will pass. Fortunately, Democrats in Congress have our backs.
According to the Independent, Congress will begin debate on voting and ethics legislation, and if it is signed into law, this bill promises to be the largest overhaul in elections in a generation. House Resolution 1, the Democrats’ bill, will strike down laws allegedly passed to ensure election security—like those in Georgia—but the bill goes farther. It proposes an end to gerrymandering and big money influence, both of which tend to benefit Republicans. Get ready for Republicans to whine about the unfairness of this bill, but it strikes right at the heart of the problem in Georgia. John Sarbanes (D-MD) sponsored the bill and said that the recommendations came from a bipartisan committee. That will not, however, make Republicans flock to sign. In fact, many are already referring to the bill as “unwarranted federal intrusion” into state processes. Rodney Davis (R-IL) said that the bill poses “a threat to democracy” and that it would “weaken voter confidence.” Where are they getting this nonsense? Are they still leaning on the “big lie?” If people want to continue to believe something so obviously untrue, that is their choice; however, their misdirected beliefs should not operate to the detriment of others.
This could be a great bill that ensures fairness in every aspect of voting. From redistricting to access, House Resolution 1 gives everyone a fair chance to participate in the process. National rules would guarantee that voting everywhere would be fairer and that the rules would apply equally to all states. The bill would also require “dark money” groups to disclose anonymous donors, create reporting requirements for online ads, and provide almost $2 billion in upgrades to election infrastructure. What is unfair about any of that? Give Republicans a few minutes, and they will find something.
Republicans do not want fair voting because when it is, they lose. Unfortunately, the bill proposed by Democrats will likely require 60 votes to avoid a Republican filibuster, which should have been done away with anyway. If this bill does not pass, we at least know which party wants fair voting, and we know that we must keep fighting for our right to vote.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years