One of the Senate Republicans
' arguments against Democrats
' push for new federal voting access standards is that voters
can't trust it because it lacks Republican support.
“It’s a recipe for undermining trust in our elections
, remaking our entire system of government to suit the preferences of one extreme end of the political spectrum,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) said on Tuesday.
“Don’t be fooled, this bill is nothing more than a partisan power grab,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito
Republicans aren't the only ones who believe that federal voting laws must have bipartisan support; Sen. Joe Manchin
(W.Va.), the sole Democrat who has refused to support the Democratic
package of sweeping voting and ethics reforms, has also argued that federal voting laws should not be passed solely on a partisan basis.
However, the states
are enacting a plethora of partisan election laws.
Republicans in Georgia
, Iowa, Kansas, Arizona
, and Florida
have enacted new voting restrictions with no Democratic support, but with ex-President Donald Trump
In other words, Republicans believe that partisan election laws would undermine public trust in elections, but Republicans are free to draft
partisan election laws in state legislatures, even if they are inspired by Trump's lies
about the 2020 election
The Senate is set to vote on the For the People Act
on Tuesday, and it is likely to fall far short of the 60 votes
needed to overcome a filibuster
, given that Democrats control only 50 Senate seats. The bill would prohibit most of the changes sought by Republican statehouses, as well as reform federal campaign finance
and lobbyist disclosure rules.
Republicans argue that a partisan election law would undermine public trust in elections, but Republicans are free to draft partisan election laws in state legislatures.
In interviews, Senate Republicans have said that the For the People Act is too intrusive into how states handle elections. Among other things, the bill's voting rights
provisions would require states to automatically register voters, to allow everyone to vote by mail if they want, and to allow voters who lack identification to vote if they complete a sworn written sworn sworn sworn written sworn written sworn written sworn written sworn written sworn written sworn written sworn written
“I don’t think a national takeover of elections is good for America
in any way shape or form,” said Rep. Ron Johnson
Sen. Mitt Romney
(R-Utah), one of the most outspoken Republican critics of Trump and his efforts to destabilize democracy
by peddling the big lie
of a stolen 2020 election, said he was open to discussing bipartisan changes to federal voting laws, but he seemed uninterested in commenting on partisan voting measures passed by GOP
“I'm a federal senator; I'm not going to tell a state what to do,” Romney told Stardia.
Republicans did support federal voting laws in the past, reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its landmark civil rights
protections against denying people the right to vote based on their race or ethnicity for decades. But Republicans now oppose restoring sections of the VRA struck down by the Supreme Court
in 2013 that required states to clear changes to voting laws.
“Some of my Republican colleagues here in Washington
have resorted to the old refrain that election laws are best left to the states, ignoring the fact that for generations, we in Congress
have passed federal election laws and constitutional amendments to prevent precisely this kind of discrimination
and voter suppression
,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
(D-NY) said Tuesday.
According to Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), some states are simply tightening election laws after loosening them to make voting safer during the coronavirus pandemic
“Now that COVID is over and we want to get back to a more appropriate scrutiny and security
of elections,” Cramer said, “I don’t think any of it is very dramatic.” (The coronavirus pandemic is not over.)
“What Republicans are doing in most states appears to be entirely appropriate,” he added, “and if anything, has made voting easier for more people while also providing security.”
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, which opposes the changes, 14 states have enacted 22 new laws that restrict voting access, including restrictions on the use of mail-in ballots, stricter voter ID requirements, and a reduction in the number of polling places.
“SB 202 in Georgia served two very narrow purposes for the state’s Republican Party
,” said Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.). “The first was to gain a partisan edge by making voting by mail more difficult by reducing the early voting
period in runoff elections, and the second was to pander to a narrow set of hardcore activists who basically bought the B.S. Trump was selling after November.”