ICYMI: Amidst Avalanche of Republican Voter Suppression Bills, Momentous Public Support for Voting Protections Senate Majority Leader Schumer Sets Deadline for For the People Act Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An avalanche of Republican voter suppression bills in state legislatures across America—including an extremely restrictive bill in Texas that was narrowly staved off by state Democrats last week—has continued to contribute to momentous public support from a supermajority of Americans for voting protections and other measures to strengthen America’s democracy. To answer that call, Senate Majority Leader Schumer set a deadline for the chamber to vote on the For the People Act, democracy restoration legislation being led by Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and co-led by Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). According to the Majority Leader, the bill will be on the Senate floor the week of June 21.

On Tuesday, President Biden tapped Vice President Harris to lead the administration’s efforts to advocate for the legislation in the coming weeks before it comes before the full Senate for a vote. The vote will put senators on the record regarding whether they want to ensure all citizens have an equal chance to vote, eliminate partisan gerrymandering, and stop billionaires from buying elections, or side with Donald Trump’s Big Lie about a stolen presidential election and efforts to undermine free and fair elections in the future.

Here’s what they’re saying:
Schumer to force vote on sweeping election overhaul next month (Jordain Carney, The Hill)

…The bill is a top priority for Democrats, who have characterized it as necessary to bolster democracy as GOP state legislators across the country propose new voting restrictions in the wake of the 2020 presidential election, which former President Trump has falsely claimed was stolen from him. Republicans view the legislation as a federal takeover of elections.

The bill, which passed the House without any GOP support, requires states to offer mail-in ballots and a minimum of 15 days of early voting, while calling for online and same-day voter registration. The measure also calls for the creation of independent commissions to draw congressional districts in an effort to put an end to partisan gerrymandering… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Biden taps Harris to lead administration’s voting rights efforts (Grace Segers, CBS News)

…In a statement released after Mr. Biden’s announcement, Harris said the administration “will not stand by when confronted with any effort that keeps Americans from voting.”

“In the days and weeks ahead, I will engage the American people, and I will work with voting rights organizations, community organizations, and the private sector to help strengthen and uplift efforts on voting rights nationwide. And we will also work with members of Congress to help advance these bills,” Harris said in the statement. “The work ahead of us is to make voting accessible to all American voters, and to make sure every vote is counted through a free, fair, and transparent process. This is the work of democracy.” CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Biden taps Harris to tackle voting rights legislation (Ben Leonard and Christopher Cadelago, Politico)

…“With her leadership and your support, we’re going to overcome again, I promise you, but it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work,” Biden said, saying that the right to vote is “under assault” at a level he had never seen before.

In a statement following the speech, Harris said she would work with Congress, community and voting rights organizations, and the “private sector” to push voting rights efforts both nationally and in statehouses.

“The work ahead of us is to make voting accessible to all American voters, and to make sure every vote is counted through a free, fair, and transparent process,” Harris said in the statement. “This is the work of democracy.” CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Opinion: Democrats must draw a line in the sand in Texas (Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post)

…Even more dangerous, the legislation would make it easier for the Republican-dominated state government to overturn election results. As Democratic voting rights lawyer Marc Elias tweeted, “It lowers the burden of proof to overturn an election based on allegations of voter fraud.” He added: “The election challenger is no longer required to show that fraudulent votes resulted in a win.”

…Texans who believe in democracy should visit the U.S. Capitol, present themselves as hearing witnesses and make the case for voting reform that House Democrats passed, including H.R. 1 (the For the People Act) and H.R. 4 (the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act). Explain that federal intervention is needed, just as it was in 1965, when the original Voting Rights Act passed because states were fundamentally hostile to running fair and free elections. They can turn up the heat on Democrats wary of changing the filibuster rules and challenge “good” Republicans such as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to oppose a measure that has no voting security rationale. If Cheney and her allies really care about democracy, they need to take a clear stand. Otherwise they are only a slightly less nutty version of the MAGA troops but equally dangerous when it comes to democratic elections… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Corporations are funding Trump-supporting, anti-democratic Republican lawmakers again (Austin Sarat and Dennis Aftergut, NBC News)

…This is why it is essential for those who want to see American democracy endure to support the House-passed For the People Act, now pending in the Senate. The act provides a way to help end the corrupting influence of wealth in American politics. It uplifts the power of small political donors by providing a federal match for all contributions up to $200. The act also compels more dark money disclosure by requiring, with limited exceptions, any corporation, union, nonprofit or similar organization that spends more than $10,000 in an election cycle to disclose all donors who give at least that amount… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Opinion: A frantic warning from 100 leading experts: Our democracy is in grave danger (Greg Sargent, The Washington Post)

With yet another GOP effort to restrict voting underway in Texas, President Biden is now calling on Congress to act in the face of the Republican “assault on democracy.” Importantly, Biden cast that attack as aimed at “Black and Brown Americans,” meriting federal legislation in response.

That is a welcome escalation. But it remains unclear whether 50 Senate Democrats will ever prove willing to reform or end the filibuster, and more to the point, whether Biden will put real muscle behind that cause. If not, such protections will never, ever pass.

Now, in a striking intervention, more than 100 scholars of democracy have signed a new public statement of principles that seeks to make the stakes unambiguously, jarringly clear: On the line is nothing less than the future of our democracy itself.

“Our entire democracy is now at risk,” the scholars write in the statement, which I obtained before its release. “History will judge what we do at this moment.” CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

The Party of White Grievance Has Never Cared About Democracy (Steve Phillips, The Nation)

…In 2021, the imperative of the hour is to pass similar legislation as was advanced in prior periods of intense conflict with the enemies of equality. Specifically, HR 1, the For the People Act, and HR 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, will both protect the democratic process and advance the cause of expanding democracy that the Republicans are working so feverishly to obstruct…

Failure to meet this moment would be catastrophic. From the January 1861 start of Confederate secession from the Union to the January 6, 2021, attempted insurrection and failed coup supported by 147 Republican members of Congress, the political party fueled by white fear has scoffed at the Constitution and mocked the notion of fidelity to country over Caucasians. The result after the Civil War was nearly 100 years of Jim Crow voter suppression, widespread domestic racial terrorism, and raging inequality and injustice. None of this is new. The question is, do the current political leaders recognize what is happening, and, if so, do they have the courage to do something about it? CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

For The People Act will empower small donors and increase representation in our democracy (Rep. Lauren Underwood, The Hill)

Small donor public financing gives diverse candidates that fair shot while giving more voters a voice, so it’s past time to use this tool in our federal elections. Small donors have increased their giving in the most recent midterm and presidential elections, but large donors still drowned them out. In the past six federal elections, just a dozen mega donors — eight of them billionaires — gave $1 of every $13 contributed. Under two percent of Americans participated in the campaign finance side of last year’s election.

The voluntary small donor public financing program in the For the People Act is an effective tool for righting this undemocratic imbalance of influence. It would provide a match of $6 to $1 on contributions of $200 or less by supporters of candidates who opt in and are able to qualify by showing sufficient public support. A wave of states and cities have created similar alternatives in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, which opened the floodgates to unlimited political spending… CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.