House passes voting rights bill, but GOP blockade awaits in Senate
Lawmakers drafted the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to overturn the two rulings and spent months putting together a careful legislative dossier in anticipation that any changes that became law would be considered by judges.
At the base is a new formula for determining which states and local entities should be subject to prior authorization by examining voting rights violations over the past 25 years. At least one analysis suggests that eight states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas – and a handful of counties would be subject to such surveillance.
But it would also require most jurisdictions across the country – not just those with a history of discrimination – to get federal approval before passing some sensitive electoral changes, like new and stringent voter identification requirements, the removal of voters. polling stations, the completion of electoral districts or the establishment of new policies to eliminate the electoral lists en masse.
Other provisions contained in the bill could have a significant impact on voting conflicts. For example, the legislation would lower the bar for plaintiffs suing to stop electoral changes under the Voting Rights Act to obtain preliminary injunctions to prevent them from taking effect until a court can. examine them. Right now, election changes that are then overturned can often take effect for months or even years because lawsuits take so long to resolve.
Elsewhere, the legislation appears to directly target many Republican state officials who have used unfounded and often vague concerns about voter fraud – particularly the false claims promulgated by former President Donald J. Trump – to justify the lockdown new restrictions on mail. in ballots and the use of drop boxes, or to reduce early voting. Merely raising fears of “electoral fraud” is not enough, says the bill, which implies that states would have to provide evidence to back up their claims.
Senators are still negotiating their own version of the law and have yet to set a date to reintroduce it or call a vote. Unlike the For the People Act, it is likely to attract some bipartisan support – but not enough to pass it.
Only one Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has been willing to associate her name with similar bills in recent years. A spokeswoman for Ms Murkowski declined to comment on the Bill’s version in the House, but the senator told the New York Times earlier this year that she didn’t believe she could find nine more Republicans to join her. to break the filibuster and pass the bill. .