President Biden on Wednesday said that the upcoming midterm elections could “easily be illegitimate” if Democrats fail to pass a partisan legislation rewrite of the nation’s voting laws.
Mr. Biden said the integrity of the election would come down to how successful his administration was at pushing back on a slew of voting measures enacted by GOP-led states since 2020.
“It depends on whether or not we’ll be able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election,” Mr. Biden said during a White House press conference.
The president added that the less successful his voting legislation was, the more likely that the results of the midterms would be in question.
“I think it could easily be illegitimate,” said Mr. Biden. “The prospect of an illegitimate [election] is in direct proportion to us being able to get these reforms passed, but I don’t think … you’re gonna see the Democratic Party give up on coming back.”
GOP lawmakers said Mr. Biden’s comments about election legitimacy are part of a coordinated effort to cast doubt about the 2022 midterms, which are expected to be tough on Democrats.
“They’ve created a false narrative that somehow states in 2020 and in the past couple of election cycles have not been capable of running a fair election,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican.
The Senate on Wednesday was poised to reject two of his voting bills: The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Both bills are central to the White House’s efforts to overturn state-level voter ID laws and other ballot integrity measures.
The Freedom to Vote Act, for instance, mandates that states offer same-day voter registration as well as automatic voter registration at local departments of motor vehicles. It also creates a taxpayer-backed public-financing system for House elections and imposes new restrictions on the ability of states to draw their electoral districts.
The John Lewis Voting Act would grant the Justice Department sweeping new powers to oversee state elections. In some cases, according to the bill, states would have to secure the DOJ’s approval before adopting new voting laws
While supported by all 50 Senate Democrats, the bills are unlikely to garner the 60-votes necessary to overcome a GOP filibuster.
Mr. Biden’s plan for Senate Democrats to blow up the filibuster and pass the measures in a party-line vote is also expected to fail. But this defeat is from a lack of enough support from Democrats.
“It’s going to be difficult. I make no bones about that,” said Mr. Biden. “We’ve not run out of options yet. And we’ll see how this moves.”