During a White House press conference this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki outlined how the Biden administration intends to continue to push for voting rights protections even after the recent filibuster by Senate Republicans of the monumental voting rights bill known as the For the People Act. Republicans might like to smugly insinuate that they’ve put an end to Democratic efforts to enact protections like what the bill included, but Psaki made clear that the fight continues. As she put it, the Biden administration intends “to fight this fight on many fronts.”
Psaki pointedly commented as follows, discussing voting rights:
‘[Voting rights are] an area where of course the Attorney General and some of the…. highest-ranking officials in the Justice Department [who] the president nominated and pushed for their confirmation have long records of advocacy, effectiveness, and work on these issues. So, he certainly entrusts them with the work they’re gonna continue to do on this front. We are going to continue to fight for, battle for, work toward federal legislation. I know it does not seem easy at this time. We do hard things. That’s what we do here. But we’re also going to continue to engage… with local activists, with local legislators… We’re going to fight this fight on many fronts.’
Check out Psaki’s comments below:
.@PressSec on the voting bill: “We are going to continue to fight for, battle for, work toward federal legislation. I know it does not seem easy at this time. We do hard things. That’s what we do here.” pic.twitter.com/0770t9LowS
— The Hill (@thehill) June 26, 2021
One of those fronts is litigation. The Justice Department has now filed a lawsuit against Georgia state authorities over a suppressive set of election restrictions that Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp recently signed into law. Those new voting guidelines include new voter ID requirements, new restrictions on the use of drop boxes for mail-in ballots, and more. Suspiciously, the bill even bans the use of mobile polling places, which were used last year in the highly populated Atlanta area, which has a large Black population. In their new lawsuit, federal authorities allege that Georgia authorities enacted the law “with knowledge of the disproportionate effect that numerous provisions, both singly and together, would have on Black voters’ ability to participate in the political process on an equal basis with white voters.”
As for the legislative front, the Senate is set to consider the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act later this year, which would restore a requirement originating in the 1965 Voting Rights Act for federal preclearance prior to the implementation of certain changes to the conducting of elections. The idea is to allow federal authorities the opportunity to stop suppressive voting restrictions before they’re put in place. Many have also called for changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules, which currently demand the agreement of 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before moving forward including to a final vote on most legislation. With the Senate’s current party breakdown, 10 Republicans are needed to hit the 60-Senator mark, and the GOP certainly hasn’t proven inclined towards good faith bipartisan negotiation.