ATLANTA (AP) — In the coming weeks, Congress will consider strengthening voting and election laws — efforts to protect the foundations of American democracy that reflect the widening divide between Democrats and Republicans.
While the parties are less likely to succeed in a divided government, they will unveil different and competing proposals to rally supporters ahead of the 2024 election.
House Republicans are scheduled to release a proposal Monday that would strengthen voting rules and take a stand against concerns that laws passed by GOP-controlled state legislatures in recent years hurt some voters. Democrats, meanwhile, are preparing to reintroduce their own proposals to set federal voting standards and restore protections under the Voting Rights Act.
Even as the country prepares for its next presidential election, the moves highlight how the two major parties have operated with little coordination and often completely aligned on voting procedures.
Major League Baseball’s All-Stars are trying to send a message ahead of Monday’s field hearing in Atlanta with a date and location to release their plan. MBB has moved the Midsummer Games from the suburbs in 2021.
The event begins a push in the House to pass the GOP’s “American Confidence in Elections Act.”
Rep. Brian Steil, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Elections, which oversees election legislation, called the plan “the most conservative election legislation that has been considered in the House in more than 20 years.”
“It works to increase voter confidence and uphold the Constitution by giving states, not the federal government, primary control over elections,” he said at a hearing last month. This is in stark contrast to the efforts of House Democrats over the last two sessions to nationalize our voting system and centralize it in Washington, DC.
Since the 2020 presidential election, many Republican-led state legislatures have imposed ID requirements by mail, limited or banned ballot boxes and limited the ability of one person to vote on behalf of another person.
Republicans in Georgia point to the 2021 election law as a model for national reform, arguing that the 2022 midterms and strong voter turnout are a rebuke to concerns that the measure could lead to voter suppression.
“The Georgia General Assembly has worked to make voting easier, provide auditable and verifiable results, give voters options for their voting methods, and use voter ID to create confidence,” former Georgia state Rep. Scott Turner, a Republican, told the House Administration Committee at a hearing in May. .
Critics say voter advocacy groups should have stepped up efforts to counter the law’s impact, spent more money educating voters and ensuring they can vote despite new barriers.
The House GOP bill would encourage states to examine voter rolls, conduct post-election audits and enact other checks on voter eligibility. It also aims to emulate Washington, D.C.’s voter laws by ending the district’s policy of allowing noncitizens to vote for local offices and prohibiting election officials from sending out unsolicited absentee ballots.
The Republican bill includes provisions to ease financial reporting requirements and other restrictions on political parties, as well as prevent nonprofits engaged in political advocacy from disclosing their donors.
All of this was done in the name of “election integrity” and to restore voter confidence in the results. However, what Republicans rarely say is former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, fueling many suspicions. .
Democrats say Trump and his allies’ continued attacks on the voting process call for action to ensure free and fair elections. A long-running effort to pass federal voting protections failed last year after Democrats failed to win enough votes in the Senate to defeat procedural rules used by Republicans to block them.
While little has changed since then, Democrats argue it’s important to face the issue.
Rep. Joe Morelle, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Governance, said: “America is threatened by anti-choice and radical anti-voting forces that are undermining our democracy.” “To the contrary, our agenda provides national standards that ensure every eligible American can participate in accessible, safe and transparent elections.”
Democrats expect the proposals to closely mirror a revised bill put together last year with the involvement of West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin. He sought a compromise that could garner some Republican support, dropping some more controversial provisions and pushing to preserve state-approved voter ID requirements in some cases.
Ultimately, Republicans stood united against the bill as a Democratic power grab aimed at hijacking federal elections. In the year The John Lewis Voting Rights Preemption Act, named in honor of the former civil rights leader and Georgia congressman who died in 2020, would allow federal review of election law changes in some jurisdictions.
In the year A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision halted the process, known as preclearance, after it ruled that the formula used to identify which jurisdictions should be subject to review was outdated.
Meanwhile, states aren’t waiting for federal action — a flurry of election-related bills that vary widely depending on the state and which party controls it. With Democrats holding the majority, lawmakers have focused on expanding voting access, reforming the redistricting process and restoring voting rights to ex-felons.
California, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Washington are among the states that have passed universal voting rights laws in recent years.
Michigan lawmakers are busy passing legislation in 2022 on a voter-approved initiative that would require nine days of early voting, the use of photo IDs or signed affidavits to verify voter identity, and the use of permanent absentee voter lists. Other actions. Lawmakers are weighing a proposal to create a state-level Voting Rights Act that would create a preliminary process to review local voting changes at the state level in some cases.
As Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, continues her second term in office, Republicans in the US House have so far refused to confront poll fraud and adopt voter-friendly policies.
“What we’ve really seen from this Congress over the last six months — instead of standing up for the lies surrounding democracy — is digging in,” Benson said. “Any law that expands or corrects misinformation would be counter to what we want in Michigan and elsewhere to give our voters confidence in our elections.
She called on Congress to provide funding for elections instead of a fragmented system that resulted in different amounts each year. A recent GOP budget proposal eliminated federal grants to state and local election offices to improve election technology and security.
Groves reports from Washington.