Even as Republican legislatures try to limit our right to vote, Democrats continue trying to pass bills to stop them. Democrats initially tried to pass the For the People Act. That bill went way beyond simply ensuring the right to vote. According to Common Cause: “For The People Act is a transformative, comprehensive bill addressing voting rights and election administration, money-in-politics, redistricting government transparency, and ethics.” While this proposed legislation passed the House, Senate Republicans successfully blocked it in the Senate. This was yet another reason that we need to do away with the filibuster. That bill included the election integrity that Republicans claim to want, but “election integrity” is not the real goal of Republicans. Winning elections is all costs is their goal. But Democrats did not give up. According to the Hill, a new bill called the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act has been introduced.
The Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan policy think tank, explained the contents of this proposed bill and why we need it to shore up parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that the Supreme Court has whittled away. Perhaps SCOTUS wants to pretend that our world is no longer discriminatory, but they obviously live in a different world that makes them blind to all the things going on, including the recent laws designed at suppressing the right to vote. Even with these bad rulings, SCOTUS did leave the door open for Congress to “update and clarify” Sections 2 and 5 “to root out race discrimination in voting.” Thanks to that opening, the new bill was formed by House members, which the Hill described as “a pared-down version of the For the People Act.”
One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Angus King (I-ME), hopes to bring this bill to vote by next week. Interestingly, Joe Manchin — who was against the For the People Act — is a co-sponsor of the new bill. According to King, Manchin is ready to go after Republican support; however, the problem is that Republicans like what state legislatures are doing and have no interest in making voting easier, especially for minorities. They continue to spew their nonsense about “voting integrity” even though both this bill and its predecessor included integrity provisions. It just is not the type of “integrity” Republicans want, as these bills tend to address ethics, which we know Republicans do not have.
Nothing in the latest proposal compromises election integrity. It will create 15 days of early voting, same-day registration, require states to have automatic registration, and restore the right to vote to people with felony convictions who have satisfied their sentences. Outside of voting, the bill will outlaw gerrymandering, which we know Republicans will not go for because that is the only way they can win. It is time to seriously consider getting rid of the filibuster. If Manchin is sponsoring this bill, he is going to have to admit that and help his fellow Democrats get rid of the filibuster.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years