House Democrats who failed in their first attempt to secure federal control of elections across America have introduced new legislation they hope to pass this fall.
The bill would restore pieces of the 1965 Voting Rights Act the Supreme Court has already struck down, according to the Washington Examiner.
“A brazen, partisan campaign of voter suppression silences voters of color across the nation and threatens to erode our democracy,” Pelosi said.
“Further, the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Shelby v. Holder opened the floodgates of voter suppression, allowing states with dark histories of bigotry and discrimination to pass hundreds of laws designed to keep communities of color from the ballot box. This year alone, eighteen states have enacted thirty dangerous voter suppression laws, while the Court has continued its assault on the Voting Rights Act.”
The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, or H.R. 4, comes as the Biden administration pushes for federal action to fight state laws that bolster election integrity.
Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, said Congress needs to act.
“It is now time for Congress to respond, by developing legislation that responds to our current situation, with respect to redistricting and otherwise — a situation in which voting rights are under pressure to an extent that has not been seen since the Civil Rights era,” Clarke said in prepared testimony.
Existing federal voting laws are more than sufficient to protect voters and ensure that they can easily and securely vote without discrimination, fear, or intimidation. @HvonSpakovsky https://t.co/EECmWwr2P7
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) August 18, 2021
However, The Heritage Foundation is warning against legislation cloaked in the language of civil rights that erodes election integrity.
“HR 4 is the left’s latest iteration of an election takeover designed to remove fundamental election safeguards and open opportunities for cheaters to manipulate election results in their favor. The bill would essentially require every state to get the approval of partisan attorneys in the Biden administration before implementing any changes to their voting laws or practices,” Heritage Foundation President Kay James said in a statement.
“We must not be fooled by legislation cloaked with euphemistic names. HR 4 does not honor the legacy of the late congressman and civil right leader John Lewis, nor the countless others who sacrificed so much to have their votes count.
“Instead, HR 4 would make it easier for those intent on committing fraud to cancel out the votes of law-abiding Americans by preventing states from implementing commonsense voter integrity laws and practices,” James said.
Hans von Spakovsky, manager of Heritage’s Election Law Reform Initiative and senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said H.R. 4 injects the federal government into local actions in an unprecedented fashion.
“This is as if you gave the DNC the ability to veto any state election law they don’t like,” von Spakovsky said, according to the Examiner.
He noted the Voting Rights Act “was designed to stop intentional discrimination that results in, for example, Black Americans not having the same ability to vote as others. “
In the new bill, the question of intention is removed.
“All it has to have is a disparate impact, which is a very dubious way of structuring the law,” he said.
Although the Democrats’ earlier attempt to rewrite voting laws passed the House, it failed to advance in the Senate.
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