Make Voting Rights Bills, Including HR1, Exempt from the Senate Filibuster
A small group of Democratic Senators opposes dumping the filibuster, a rule that makes it necessary to get 60 votes to end debate and vote on legislation in the US Senate. There are some good reasons to maintain the filibuster for major changes to the nation's laws, but Senators have already created a plethora of exceptions to the rule for votes on cabinet appointees, judicial nominations, and the Congressional Budget Act’s budget reconciliation process. There should also be an exception for voting rights legislation which would allow the Senate to vote on HR1, the election reform package recently passed by the House of Representatives.
As Republican legislators in many states introduce bills to make voting more difficult, especially for working class individuals and minorities, a voting rights exception is vital to ensuring fair and inclusive elections in America. Stacey Abrams of Georgia made the point yesterday on CNN's State of the Union.
Abrams: “The elections clause in the Constitution guarantees that the Congress alone has the power to regulate the time, manner and place of elections. That is a power that is sacrosanct. We are watching across this country as individual legislators tried to use the big lie [voter fraud] to restrict access to the right to vote.”
Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock made a similar point while speaking to NBC.
NBC: "Voting rights is preservative of all other rights. It's not just one legislative issue alongside others. It is the very basis upon which we get sent here to argue the case for the American people. "It is urgent. And therefore I think all options have to be on the table, in terms of Senate rules."
Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh reminded us of why Republicans are trying to pass bills across the country to make voting more difficult. The veteran GOP lawmaker argued that tougher voting laws are needed because "everybody shouldn't be voting" and Republicans value the "quality" over the "quantity" of votes. Kavanagh backtracked later, saying he was talking about fraudulent voting, but since no one in Arizona is able to provide evidence of fraud, it's pretty clear what they are up to.
Illuminate: "Arizona state representative Athena Salman, a Democrat from Tempe who sits on that state's House Government and Elections Committee, summed it up like this: Republicans are "trying to stop eligible voters from voting because they don’t like the decisions voters are making."
Voter suppression efforts in states like Arizona, Georgia, and now Texas can be overturned with an uniform national standard created by Congress which is what HR1 is meant to accomplish. However, as long as Republicans can filibuster the bill, it has no chance of passing in the US Senate.
And that is why the Senate needs a voting rights exemption to the filibuster rule. HR1 should be fairly debated and enacted with a simple majority to end voter suppression efforts by Republican legislators across the country.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content