Senate Republicans stopped Democrats’ sweeping voting rights bill from advancing on the Senate floor Tuesday, unanimously voting against beginning its debate and therefore essentially killing it.
Though every Democrat voted to advance the bill, Republicans labeled it as nothing more than a power grab by the majority, with GOP leadership vowing to stop it. The bill, dubbed the “For the People Act,” received 50 votes in favor, but needed 60 to overcome a legislative filibuster.
Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema reaffirmed her opposition to abolishing the 60-vote Senate filibuster, rebuffing progressives who have decried the legislative rule and called for its removal.
Sinema argued that scrapping the Senate rule would erode “democracy’s guardrails,” writing in The Washington Post that doing so would lead the nation to “lose much more than we gain.”
“It’s no secret that I oppose eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold,” Sinema wrote. “I held the same view during three terms in the U.S. House, and said the same after I was elected to the Senate in 2018.”
Over 70 companies signed on to a letter Monday in support of the For the People Act, a voting bill proposed by Democrats seeking to reform large parts of the electoral process.
The letter called on the Senate to pass the voting bill, calling it “one of the most significant pieces of legislation to strengthen our democracy since the Civil Rights era” and condemning recent Republican voting legislation, The Hill reports. The letter was backed by a number of advocacy groups such as Vote.org and Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote
“More than 360 bills in 47 states have been introduced to put up barriers to silence our fellow Americans’ voices, especially the voices of Black, Brown, young, disabled, and working class voters,” the letter said. “The For the People Act would override many of the abusive state laws that make it harder for millions to cast their ballots, and set national standards for free and fair elections.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., declared Sunday he will oppose his party’s legislation to federalize how elections are conducted, dealing a severe blow to Democratic passage in the evenly divided Senate.
The For The People Act would among other things ban voter ID requirements, mandate mail-in voting options and begin registering voters at age 16. It has faced uniform Republican opposition.
In an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin declared the bill as too partisan and divisive.
For as long as politicians have been passing legislation, there have been measurable consequences to that legislation – both intentional and unintentional. Usually, the final impact is not known for years after a law is passed. We could write a book predicting problems with the proposed federal bill, H.R.1, the so-called For the People Act, but the state of Connecticut has given American taxpayers a timely preview of the burdens and waste we can expect from just one of the bill’s many government mandates. Specifically, the requirement that states must mail out ballot applications to all registered voters will unnecessarily spend, and ultimately waste, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
The 2020 elections in Connecticut provide a cautionary preview of this proposed requirement in H.R. 1 to send absentee ballot applications (ABR) to every registered voter. Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill (pictured) did exactly that, spending $7.1 million in federal taxpayer money sending out unsolicited ABRs for the primary and general elections. A total of 3.6 million applications were mailed, yet only 865,000 were converted to actual votes. That’s a cost of $8.20 per ballot returned – by any measure, a poor yield on that investment.
The sad irony about this waste of taxpayers’ money is that the applications were available to voters free of charge either at town halls or on the State of Connecticut website. One had only to pick up the form in person or download and print it in the comfort of his own home. Other states have similarly convenient options for obtaining ABRs and provide for ballot applications to be requested online, by email or by phone. Citizens in these states take responsibility for their right to vote, and the states facilitate their doing so, rather than mandate it.
More than 120 retired military generals and admirals have posted an open letter questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election, Joe Biden’s mental health, and warning that the United States is in deep peril under Biden’s divisive leadership. The former high-ranking military officers blasted the “Commander-in-Chief,” accusing him of launching “a full-blown assault on our Constitutional rights in a dictatorial manner, and summed up the situation as a “conflict is between supporters of Socialism and Marxism vs. supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty.”
“Without fair and honest elections that accurately reflect the ‘will of the people’ our Constitutional Republic is lost,” the 124 former officers stated in the letter, which was released by the group “Flag Officers 4 America.”
“Election integrity demands insuring there is one legal vote cast and counted per citizen. Legal votes are identified by State Legislature’s approved controls using government IDs, verified signatures, etc. Today, many are calling such commonsense controls ‘racist’ in an attempt to avoid having fair and honest elections,” the letter continued. “The FBI and Supreme Court must act swiftly when election irregularities are surfaced and not ignore them as was done in 2020.”
Democrats have already passed H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act, in the House of Representatives; fortunately, the bill faces a much tougher road in the Senate. Among the bill’s many serious problems are a wide array that I would characterize as “mechanical,” in the sense that they dictate the nuts and bolts of how states would run elections. H.R. 1 attempts to dictate these elements in a way that is either impossible to put into effect or would gut the effective administration of elections. One example is how H.R. 1 dictates, through its Section 1621, that states must deal with signature verification – a cornerstone of election security, especially with the growth of mail-in balloting.
The Senate’s Committee on Rules and Administration Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has announced she is holding a hearing Wednesday, March 24th at 10:00 AM ET on H.R.1/S.1, the Democrats’ misnamed “For the People Act.”
This is the first announced Senate hearing on the Democrats’ plan to do away with your freedom of speech, and if you were hoping the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration would act to correct the outrages that are central provisions of the House-passed bill, think again.
Twenty Republican attorneys general argue that HR1, the “For the People Act,” which passed the U.S. House late in the night on Wednesday, is unconstitutional.
The chief legal officers of 20 states sent a letter to the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, arguing that both the House and Senate versions of the bill, which deals with federal election law, “betray several constitutional deficiencies and alarming mandates.”
In the shadow of a national election that featured record-high voter turnout and record-low confidence in the process and outcome on the part of much of one side, both major political parties are pushing election “reform” measures. Their approaches couldn’t be more different.
One party is seeking a disciplined process with security procedures in place to ensure that only qualified voters vote and that all legitimate votes are counted quickly, honestly, accurately, and the results made public promptly. The other party is seeking a process that is as loosey-goosey as possible, leaving wide avenues for vote diddling and labeling any attempt by the other side to thwart election fraud as racist voter suppression. No points awarded for guessing which party is pursuing which approach.