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US Major Voting Reforms: HR1

lpetrich

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HR4 may not be HR1 but it should be at least half as good.

It was sponsored by every Democrat in the House, it seems. It has 224 cosponsors, the original one and 191 original cosponsors. It was introduced on August 17, with the stragglers cosponsoring it on Aug 20 and Aug 23.

This included territorial delegates from DC, VI, MP, and GU -- District of Columbia, Virgin Islands, Northern Marianas, and Guam.

No Republicans sponsored it.

House | Roll Call 258 | Bill Number: H. Res. 601 was a vote to go ahead with considering HR4, and also the $3.5T reconciliation package.

That vote was completely party line: Y D 220, N R 212.

House | Roll Call 259 | Bill Number: H. R. 4 was a "motion to recommit", a last-minute reconsideration.

Its vote was Y R 212, N D 218, nv D 1. The only nonvoter was Jim Costa, D-CA-16.

House | Roll Call 260 | Bill Number: H. R. 4 was the vote itself.

It was Y D 219, N R 212, nv D 1, Jim Costa again.

Now it's off to the Senate.
 

lpetrich

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S.2747 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Freedom to Vote Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Sponsor: Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN] (Introduced 09/14/2021) - has 7 cosponsors
This bill addresses voter registration and voting access, election integrity and security, redistricting, and campaign finance.

Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls.

Next, the bill establishes Election Day as a federal holiday.
The bill declares that the right of a U.S. citizen to vote in any election for federal office shall not be denied or abridged because that individual has been convicted of a criminal offense unless, at the time of the election, such individual is serving a felony sentence.

The bill establishes certain federal criminal offenses related to voting. In particular, the bill establishes a new criminal offense for conduct (or attempted conduct) to corruptly hinder, interfere with, or prevent another person from registering to vote or helping someone register to vote.

Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including by requiring states to conduct post-election audits for federal elections.

The bill outlines criteria for congressional redistricting and generally prohibits mid-decade redistricting.

The bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, requiring additional disclosure of campaign-related fundraising and spending, requiring additional disclaimers regarding certain political advertising, and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.
Great bill, right?

U.S. Senate Majority Floor Updates on Twitter: "NOT AGREED TO: Cloture on the motion to proceed to S.2747, the Freedom to Vote Act.
By a vote of 49-51 (60 vote threshold).
.@SenSchumer changed his vote to NAY so that he could enter a motion to reconsider the vote." / Twitter


With this response:
K FabMac 💛 *😷MASK UP😷*💉VAX UP💉* on Twitter: "@DSenFloor @HayesBrown @SenSchumer B-b-but I thought Manchin could wrangle those 10 honest, fair minded Republicans to vote for the greater good ? (link)" / Twitter
 

lpetrich

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Senator Jeff Merkley on Twitter: "We’re in a battle for the soul of our democratic republic. ..." / Twitter
We’re in a battle for the soul of our democratic republic. Senate Republicans refuse to even debate legislation to protect our right to vote.

The freedom to vote shouldn’t depend on your zip code, income, or party affiliation.

Today, all 50 Democratic Senators voted together to start debate on a bill that would end partisan gerrymandering, stop billionaires from buying elections, and protect every American's right to vote.

All 50. But we’re NOT starting debate because Republicans blocked it.

We need to find another path.

Our fundamental right to cast a meaningful vote and have a say in the big decisions that impact our lives is on the line.

I’ve been pushing to restore our broken Senate for years, and there has never been a more critical moment to get this done.

My full statement ⬇️
Press Release | Press Releases | News | U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon
We have a coronavirus pandemic that is challenging our nation and threatening the health of Americans. But in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and so many other states across the country, there is a second virus sweeping across the land: It’s called voter suppression, and it’s threatening the health of our democracy.

...
Nineteen states have already passed bills to block targeted groups of Americans from voting. Billionaires continue to buy elections with dark money. And Republican state officials, as we speak, are laying out their plans to rig the new round of legislative districts to seize power by denying Americans fair and equal representation.

...
This obstruction was, sadly, expected, and makes clear just how broken the Senate is. We must restore the Senate’s ability to take on the big challenges, to debate the big issues and consider the views of Senators from both sides of the aisle, and ultimately to pass legislation. Our rights and freedoms hang in the balance.
Jeff Merkley is from Oregon, where I currently live.
 

ZiprHead

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S.2747 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Freedom to Vote Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Sponsor: Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN] (Introduced 09/14/2021) - has 7 cosponsors
This bill addresses voter registration and voting access, election integrity and security, redistricting, and campaign finance.

Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls.

Next, the bill establishes Election Day as a federal holiday.
The bill declares that the right of a U.S. citizen to vote in any election for federal office shall not be denied or abridged because that individual has been convicted of a criminal offense unless, at the time of the election, such individual is serving a felony sentence.

The bill establishes certain federal criminal offenses related to voting. In particular, the bill establishes a new criminal offense for conduct (or attempted conduct) to corruptly hinder, interfere with, or prevent another person from registering to vote or helping someone register to vote.

Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including by requiring states to conduct post-election audits for federal elections.

The bill outlines criteria for congressional redistricting and generally prohibits mid-decade redistricting.

The bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, requiring additional disclosure of campaign-related fundraising and spending, requiring additional disclaimers regarding certain political advertising, and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.
Great bill, right?

U.S. Senate Majority Floor Updates on Twitter: "NOT AGREED TO: Cloture on the motion to proceed to S.2747, the Freedom to Vote Act.
By a vote of 49-51 (60 vote threshold).
.@SenSchumer changed his vote to NAY so that he could enter a motion to reconsider the vote." / Twitter


With this response:
K FabMac ?????? *??????MASK UP??????*??????VAX UP??????* on Twitter: "@DSenFloor @HayesBrown @SenSchumer B-b-but I thought Manchin could wrangle those 10 honest, fair minded Republicans to vote for the greater good ? (link)" / Twitter

Manchin guaranteed ten votes from Republicans for that bill.

:pigsfly:
 

Rhea

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Will this gie him the cover he needs to agree to filibuster reform?

America NEEDS voting protections.
 

lpetrich

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Sinema holds firm in support of the filibuster, imperiling late voting rights push - The Washington Post
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) is a co-sponsor of Democratic voting rights bills meant to combat state-level GOP efforts to restrict ballot access. But she has firmly resisted a campaign by some in her party to modify or eliminate the filibuster — the Senate rule requiring a 60-vote supermajority to advance most legislation — to pass them.

In an interview with The Washington Post on Thursday, about two weeks after Republicans blocked a third major voting rights bill, Sinema reiterated her stance.

“My opinion is that legislation that is crafted together, in a bipartisan way, is the legislation that’s most likely to pass and stand the test of time,” she said. “And I would certainly encourage my colleagues to use that effort to move forward.”

That third bill: Senate Republicans block debate on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act - The Washington Post It got a 51-49 vote, not the 60 votes needed to proceed.
The two prior bills put forth by congressional Democrats sought to impose a broad variety of new federal mandates for how states conduct elections, setting minimum standards for early voting and vote-by-mail, forbidding partisan congressional redistricting and overhauling campaign finance disclosures. Both bills failed to advance on straight party lines, with Republicans insisting that the federal government had no role setting state election practices.

The John Lewis bill instead seeks to empower the Justice Department and federal courts to review state election laws — in some cases, before they take effect — restoring provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that have been struck down by the Supreme Court in a series of decisions since 2013.

Back to KS.
Asked about potential modifications to Senate rules — such as an exception to the filibuster for voting rights matters — Sinema cast doubt on whether such a maneuver would be workable.

“That caveat — ‘if it would even work’ — is the right question to ask,” she said.
I find that deeply offensive. KS is portraying herself as up against forces much more powerful than her when she helped contribute to this problem. It's the same sort of thing she said in Sinema speaks up — and shakes off her critics - POLITICO If could say anything to her, I'd say, "KS, you are not some low-level employee. You are a member of one of your nation's two ruling councils. Now act like it and stop wringing your hands as if you are absolutely helpless."
 

lpetrich

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Not much action. Voting-rights bills have been stymied in the Senate, because of the Republicans' filibustering.

I don't even want to call it that because it involves putting a hold on a bill, much like the fake war between Eminiar VII and Vendikar in ST:TOS "A Taste of Armageddon".

Biden signals new emphasis on voting right legislation - Dec 16

Most recently, Sen. Joe Manchin stated that he will not be voting for the bill in its current form.

Passing such legislation will require ending the filibuster, at least for it. The latter option would be like the recent debt-ceiling increase, something that was preceded by revoking the filibuster just for it.

REP. MONDAIRE JONES REITERATES CALL FOR PRESIDENT BIDEN TO PUBLICLY SUPPORT FILIBUSTER REFORM FOLLOWING SENATE FAILURE TO PASS THE FREEDOM TO VOTE ACT | Representative Mondaire Jones - Oct. 20
“Our time to save our democracy is running out. If President Biden cares about this as much as he professes to, he needs to act now, before it’s too late.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) released the following statement after the Senate failed to advance the Freedom to Vote Act:

“Our democracy is in crisis. As Republicans in Washington and across the country continue their quest to undermine the right to vote and subvert free and fair elections, this crisis grows more dire by the hour.

REP. MONDAIRE JONES WELCOMES BIDEN’S SUPPORT FOR VOTING RIGHTS FILIBUSTER EXCEPTION, CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION | Representative Mondaire Jones - Dec 23
Jones was the first member of Congress to call on Biden to publicly support filibuster reform for voting rights legislation

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY), a national leader in the fight to protect voting rights and save American democracy, issued the following statement after President Joe Biden announced his support for creating an exception to the Senate filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation.

“For the past year, I have been calling on President Biden to use the full weight of his office to protect the sacred right to vote and save our ailing democracy. Since coming to Congress, I have been clear that, with our democracy in crisis, allowing the Jim Crow filibuster to block meaningful progress on voting rights is simply not an option. That’s why, early this year, I became the first Member of Congress to call on the President to publicly support an exception to the filibuster for voting rights, a call I have reiterated repeatedly in the months since.

“Today, I am thrilled to see President Biden finally heeding that call. As the most powerful person in the world, his words matter. But words alone are not enough, which is why he must now do everything in his power to prevail upon every Democratic Senator, including Senators Manchin and Sinema, to join us in this fight. Because the sad reality remains that there is no bipartisan path to saving our democracy in the face of the Republican assault on the right to vote.

“In recent weeks, as we have learned more about the events leading up to the insurrection on January 6, it has become clear that our nation came terrifyingly close to a full-blown coup. While the treasonists who attempted this coup failed once, there is no reason not to think that, if given the opportunity, they won’t try again. With midterm elections less than a year away, the urgency of this moment cannot be overstated.

“The only way to prevent another attack and protect our democracy is to pass meaningful voting rights legislation while we still can. President Biden’s announcement today is a monumental step toward that vital goal, and I’ll keep fighting to ensure he and our colleagues in the Senate do what this moment demands to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. With time running out, we must secure our democracy for generations to come.”
 

lpetrich

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Biden says he supports filibuster carve-out for voting rights - CNNPolitics
President Joe Biden says he supports making an exception to the Senate filibuster rules in order to pass voting rights legislation.

"If the only thing standing between getting voting rights legislation passed and not getting passed is the filibuster, I support making the exception of voting rights for the filibuster," Biden told ABC News' David Muir in an interview that aired Thursday morning.

It's the most direct answer Biden has given on his position on the filibuster and voting rights.

CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Biden at a CNN town hall in October, "When it comes to voting rights, just so I'm clear though, you would entertain the notion of doing away with the filibuster on that one issue, is that correct?"

"And maybe more," Biden responded.
He may have to twist some arms, like Kyrsten Sinema's.

Sinema pops Democrats’ filibuster trial balloon on voting rights - POLITICO - Dec 15
The Arizona Democrat is not willing to entertain changes to the 60-vote threshold in order to pass elections reform, as some of her colleagues are discussing.

Kyrsten Sinema supports the elections reform bill that Democrats are considering a year-end push to pass. She doesn't support a shortcut around the filibuster to get it done.

The Arizona moderate is making clear that she intends to keep protecting the Senate’s 60-vote requirement on most legislation and she isn’t ready to entertain changing rules to pass sweeping elections or voting legislation with a simple majority. Her Democratic colleagues have been discussing those revisions as they weigh dropping their focus on President Joe Biden’s $1.7 trillion climate and social spending bill and pivoting to voting rights, though it’s not clear that avenue will be any more successful.

In a statement to POLITICO, a spokesperson said that Sinema “continues to support the Senate's 60-vote threshold, to protect the country from repeated radical reversals in federal policy which would cement uncertainty, deepen divisions, and further erode Americans’ confidence in our government.” Since joining the Senate in 2019, Sinema’s been a fierce defender of the filibuster and warned that reversing it could lead to terrible outcomes for Democrats down the line.
She seems very trusting about the Republicans, since they would remove it in a minute if they thought that it would get in their way.
 

lpetrich

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Senate Democrats fail to change rules on filibuster to pass voting rights - CBS News
Senate Republicans blocked Democrats from moving forward on voting rights legislation, and Democrats failed to get 50 votes to change the Senate rules to move forward with the legislation with a simple majority.

The dramatic night started with the Senate first voting on whether to end debate on the voting rights legislation, a move that failed to get the 60 votes needed to move the bill forward. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer then brought up a vote on a rules change to move the legislation forward with a one-time exemption, which was fiercely opposed by Republicans and two members of his own party, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Democrats' frustration with Manchin and Sinema was apparent, with Senator Bernie Sanders saying after the vote that Manchin and Sinema have "forced us to go through five months of discussions which have gotten absolutely nowhere."

A member of Congress has aken a more direct approach.

Jamaal Bowman on Twitter: "These are the 33 bills passed in 19 states throughout 2021 that restrict voting rights. There is a battle for the ballot box and we can't watch it from the sidelines.
Organizers did their jobs. Now it's time for the Senate to do its job. (pic link)" / Twitter


Florida's #1 Spinozist on Twitter: ".@JamaalBowmanNY Was just arrested by @CapitolPolice for participating in a civil disobedience action for the #FreedomToVoteAct alongside hunger strikers with @LetsUnpac (links)" / Twitter

Jamaal Bowman arrested during voting rights protest at Capitol | The Riverdale Press | www.riverdalepress.com
U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman was arrested Thursday outside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, after joining a small crowd there protesting for expanded voting rights in the country.

The congressman was among 20 arrested, according to his spokesman — a group that included faith leaders and some younger people who have been on a hunger strike.

"Today, Congressman Jamaal Bowman joined a voting rights non-violent direction action at the North Barricade of the U.S. Capitol Building and was arrested by the U.S. Capitol Police," according to Bowman's spokesman, Marcus Frias.

"We will provide more information and updates as we gather them."
Bowman won't challenge arrest, but doesn't regret it either | The Riverdale Press | www.riverdalepress.com
Jamaal Bowman stood on the steps of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, calling for his upper chamber colleagues to pass a bill he and Democrats say will protect voting rights — especially among people of color — across the country.

He held up a stack of papers, describing them as 33 bills passed in 19 states since the 2020 election that would restrict voting rights. The Senate could fix all of that with just a simple vote approving the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — named after the late congressman and civil rights activist — Democrats and other advocates say will restore key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

"There is a battle for the ballot box, and we can't watch it from the sidelines," Bowman later shared on social media. "Organizers did their jobs. Now it's time for the Senate to do its job."

But the Senate didn't do its job. Without the support of Republicans and a pair of swing Democrats, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act failed on the chamber floor.
He is not exactly the first.
They include Ohio Democrat Joyce Beatty, arrested outside the Senate building last July, while wearing a T-shirt demanding to "protect our voting rights."

Within days, two more members of the Black Congressional Caucus would find themselves in cuffs — Georgia's Hank Johnson and Texas' Sheila Jackson Lee — over voting rights.

Bowman didn't expect to join them in that exclusive club on Thursday. But the congressman doesn't regret it.
 
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