With the 2022 midterms not too far ahead, Democrats have a relatively small window to pass their most consequential legislation before they face the possibility of potentially losing congressional seats. It would make sense that one of the most significant bills for them to bring to President Biden’s desk in that short time would be the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, to secure voting rights for the people who Republicans have routinely barred from voting.
One potential issue with legislation like this in a split Senate is finding the 60 votes that would be needed to pass this without any filibustering from the opposition, but Stacey Abrams, who delivered Democrats their two much-needed wins in January, has already offered a path going forward that could exempt this act from filibuster rules.
In an interview with Mother Jones, Abrams suggested: “The judicial appointment exception, the Cabinet appointment exception, the budget reconciliation exception, are all grounded in this idea that these are constitutionally prescribed responsibilities that should not be thwarted by minority imposition, and we should add to it the right to protect democracy.”
At the present time, state Republicans are pushing voter suppression bills in 42 states to make sure they don’t suffer losses as heavily as they have in the last two years. As Republicans make their moves now on passing their own legislation, it would be an opportune moment for Democrats to show their unity on voting rights by passing this legislation at a time when Republicans are having a hard time defending their own in court.
Of course, while voting rights legislation is a critical step in safeguarding against voter suppression, the surest way to overcome this is to show up in droves in 2021 and 2022 to both local and federal elections, in numbers too big for Republican cheating to make a difference.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making