Senate Republicans on Tuesday solidified opposition to the Democrats’ far-reaching election-overhaul legislation, saying it is a partisan effort designed to keep Democrats in power.
The bill has no Republican support and is being forced to a floor vote by the Democrats who run the chamber.
“If this bill were to pass, no one would have any confidence in it,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. “This is a partisan effort to take over how you conduct elections in our country.”
Opponents of the elections overhaul package say it will violate states’ rights to dictate how elections are run, including striking down bans on ballot harvesting in 31 states. They also claim Democrats are making it so undocumented immigrants and felons will be able to register to vote.
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, said conservatives have called the bill the “Corrupt Politicians Act” instead of the Democrats’ “For the People Act.”
“This legislation is designed to ensure Democrats never lose another election,” Mr. Cruz said.
Democrats rallied around the bill.
“Anyone who wants our nation — our democracy — to succeed, should support the #ForThePeopleAct. Nothing is more foundational to our country than the right to vote and this bill would strengthen and protect that right — which is why we need to pass it ASAP,” tweeted Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the No. 3 Democratic leader in the Senate.
With a 50-50 Senate, it’s highly unlikely that 10 Republican senators would join Democrats for the bill to clear a 60-vote hurdle to beat a filibuster. But Democrats can use it as a show vote to highlight the issue in the 2022 midterm elections.
Liberal activists are calling on Senate Democrats to change the chamber’s rules to eliminate the filibuster and send the bill to President Biden’s desk on a party-line vote.
Democrats on the Senate Rules Committee are readying the more than 800-page bill to move to the chamber floor. They argue that the legislation is needed to combat GOP state legislatures in states enacting new election laws that require such measures as voter ID and more checks on mail-in ballots.
Democrats said more than 300 bills have been introduced in 47 states that they say would infringe on the right to vote or make casting a ballot more difficult.
“Don’t tell us these laws are about voter fraud, you’re more likely in America to be struck by lightning,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said. “They carry the stench of oppression.”
The bill doesn’t allow states to require proof of identification for requesting absentee ballots. It also provides a workaround for voters who don’t show their ID at the polls. Instead, voters can sign a declaration attesting to their identity.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 36 states require voters to show ID. But Democrats and liberal advocacy groups are aiming to strike these state requirements with the federal legislation, saying requiring identification disenfranchises minority voters. They reason that people of color do not have as much access to government IDs as White voters.
Republicans argue other parts of the Democrats’ massive elections law impedes states’ rights and sets a wide range of rules affecting elections and other aspects of political life, including:
⦁ Allowing 10 days past Election Day to count mail-in ballots
⦁ Ordering states to allow early voting for at least two weeks
⦁ Mandating requirements on states for voter registration
⦁ Requiring states to set up redistricting commissions, instead of allowing state legislatures to do the job
⦁ Implementing ethics rules for Supreme Court justices
⦁ Requiring disclosure of tax returns for presidential candidates
The House passed its version of the bill in March and the Senate has been holding hearings on the matter.