On Wednesday, January 19, Senate Republicans blocked two voting rights bills which was an attempt to change the filibuster rules and ultimately undermine election integrity.
These two bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act are being pushed by Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterm election in order to change the voting laws to their advantage.
The Freedom to Vote Act which calls to make Election Day a national holiday, allows states to have early voting for at least two weeks prior to Election Day; including nights and weekends. The act also allows voting by mail with no excuses needed and has states which require identification for voting to broaden the types of identification allowed.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act called to reverse a 2013 Supreme Court decision that initially quashed certain portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This Act would include determining new changes to preclearance in deciding which states and political subdivisions must obtain this preapproval process before making changes to voting practices.
Democrats say that these bills would make it easier for people to vote, especially people of color. The problem with these bills is they are attempting to make these changes just months away from the midterms, and these requirements within these bills would only make voter fraud much easier to execute.
Democrats are calling out the Republicans by claiming that they don’t want free and fair elections, when that is exactly what they are fighting for. As we have seen in November of 2020, voter fraud ran rampant throughout the nation, with instances of ballot harvesting, multiple ballots under the same name, and even dead people voting.
So, what do Republicans want regarding voting rights? Despite accusations from the left, conservatives are fighting for free and fair elections, election integrity, requiring ID to vote, and restrict mail in ballots. They also want to restrict voting to Election Day, not election weeks.
Democrats claim to want the same thing, but we have seen time and time again, how they are manipulating these bills to their advantage. We have seen it in 2020, where Democrats used the pandemic as a reason to increase the number of and accessibility of mail-in-ballots as a way to expand access across the nation.
Vice President Harris stated, “Senators voted to preserve an arcane Senate procedure rather than secure that fundamental freedom. The American people will not forget this moment. Neither will history.”
President Biden also expressed his disappointment by saying, “I am profoundly disappointed that the United States Senate has failed to stand up for our democracy. As dangerous new Republican laws plainly designed to suppress and subvert voting rights proliferate in states across the country, we will explore every measure and use every tool at our disposal to stand up for democracy.”
Since the bill has died in Congress, many Democrats have severely criticized Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who voted against the proposed legislation. Voting rights activists, such as Joe Madison, who went on a hunger strike in hopes of Congress being able to appreciate and support voting rights in democracy, is one of many who are planning on continuing to fight for “voting rights” and continue educating others on the issue.
House Majority leader, Steny Hoyer, stated on January 25th in an interview with POLITICO Playbook co-author Rachael Bade, “I do not buy your characterization of the Voting Rights Act being ‘dead’ in the Senate.” He firmly believes that he can work to corral other House Democrats to work on a smaller bill that will help push voting rights.
“The Democrats push to pass voting rights legislation is very much alive”, according to Hoyer, who believes the strategy for passing future voting rights acts depends on changing the rules or to get 60 votes in the Senate.
Prior to the Senate’s decision on the Voting Rights Act, President Biden made a comment on what it could mean for the 2022 midterms, saying the elections could “easily be illegitimate”, which may already be instilling doubt and fear into many Americans who firmly believe that voting rights are at stake.
About the Author:
Alexis is a student at the University of North Florida majoring in International Studies. She plans on obtaining a Master’s degree in the future and hopes to have a career in politics and journalism.