Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Fight To Secure Voting Rights Starts Today (UPDATED)


With anti- democracy Republicans rushing to pass exclusionary voter suppression laws in dozens of states, Democrats will have to act now, with solidarity:

... Democrats may have a single realistic opportunity to resist not only these proposals, but also GOP plans to institute severe partisan congressional gerrymanders in many of the same states. That opportunity: using Democrats’ unified control of Washington to establish national election standards—by passing the omnibus election-reform bill known as H.R. 1, which is scheduled for a House vote today, and the new Voting Rights Act, which is expected to come to the floor later this year.

Democrats may have only a brief window in which to block these state-level GOP maneuvers. Typically, the president’s party loses House and Senate seats in the first midterm election after his victory. Democrats will face even worse odds if Republicans succeed in imposing restrictive voting laws or gerrymandering districts in the GOP’s favor across a host of red states. (our emphasis) [snip]

H.R. 1 is assured passage in the House, but then the fight begins:

How far the party will go to make them law remains in doubt, however. Senate Republicans are likely to try to kill these bills with a filibuster. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, the principal sponsor of H.R. 1’s Senate analogue, has been urging his colleagues to consider ending the filibuster for these bills alone, even if they are unwilling to end it for all legislation. But so far, at least two Democrats remain resistant to curtailing the filibuster in any way: Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Those are two names we'll likely (and unfortunately) be hearing a lot about over at least the next 2 years in the 50-50 Senate, as they maintain their leverage due to the filibuster rule that's been used throughout history to deny people of color their rights. 

As we've said before, over the longer term the best way to remove the veto power from those willing to use it to enable Republican voter suppression is to elect more Democrats to the Senate in 2022 who aren't rigidly beholden to a racist Senate rule that's been altered many times over the years. Over the short term, if you're a constituent of either Manchin (WV) or Sinema (AZ), please let them know that you don't want anything to stand in the way of passage of the voting rights bills and you will vote accordingly (politely, of course).


Sen. Joe Manchin   

306 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510;
  Phone: 202-224-3954

Sen. Krysten Sinema

317 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510;  Phone: 202-224-4521

UPDATE:  As expected, the House passed H.R. 1 last night.  On to the Senate!

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