On Monday — the day after Independence Day — former President Barack Obama spoke out with another urgent message in support of voting rights. Around the country, Republican leaders have sought to impose strict new voting guidelines, partly under the guise of false claims from former President Donald Trump and his allies about the integrity of last year’s presidential election. In Congress, Democrats recently brought up the voting rights bill known as the For the People Act for consideration, but Senate Republicans filibustered it, thanks to the procedural rule in the 100-member chamber requiring the agreement of 60 Senators prior to moving forward on most legislation.
On Twitter this Monday, Obama shared as follows, alongside a link to an article about a Republican state Senator in Michigan who helped lead the creation of a report outlining the integrity of the presidential election outcome in the state:
‘In the wake of the SCOTUS ruling further weakening the Voting Rights Act, take a look at how one Republican in Michigan was subjected to harsh attacks from within his own party for simply acknowledging the validity of the election results in his state. It’s more urgent than ever for Congress to pass robust new voting rights legislation—now.’
It's more urgent than ever for Congress to pass robust new voting rights legislation—now.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 5, 2021
The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Obama referenced was an upholding of certain voting restrictions in Arizona. Those restrictions include rules disqualifying provisional ballots cast in precincts other than the voter’s own and banning most other people from returning any given voter’s mail-in ballot. Elsewhere, suppressive election restrictions that have been put in place include new voter ID requirements for mail-in voting in Georgia, despite the lack of any documented election integrity problems connected to the state’s previous, signature-based method of verifying mail-in ballots.
Meanwhile, Obama has said that he’s of the belief that Democratic leaders will somehow bring the For the People Act back up for consideration. As he put it, he thinks Democratic leaders “are going to figure out a way in which there’s an up and down vote on the For the People Act.” In coming months, the Senate is also set to consider the more narrowly focused John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would re-institute a requirement for federal preclearance ahead of the imposition of certain changes to the conducting of elections. The hope would be to stop voter suppression before it is able to be enacted.