Sure, the Democrats on the Hill are considering at least a carve-out (exception) to filibuster over raising the debt limit. But there is another place where the filibuster holds as much or more sway over the future of our democracy. And that legislation is one of the promises President Joe Biden made to Democratic House leader James Clyburn (D-SD) before he took office. Our president owes Clyburn bigtime
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to hold a vote on the S.4 John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) “in the coming weeks.” This bill is the one that works in tandem with The Freedom to Vote Act, S.2747. The latter bill is also waiting for a vote in the Senate, according to Axios.
Senator Leahy said when he introduced the bill:
‘The most fitting way to honor the legacy of John Lewis is to take action ourselves.
This is what the vital S. 4 does:
- Restores key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
- Establishes a new formula to determine which jurisdictions are subject to preclearance under Section 5 of the VRA, a provision that ensures federal oversight of states or counties with histories of discriminatory voting laws. The old formula to determine which jurisdictions require pre-approval was struck down in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Strengthens Section 2 of the VRA in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brnovich v. DNC earlier this summer.
- Includes the Native American Voting Rights Act, introduced in August by Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) who spoke yesterday of the “geographic, linguistic and legal barriers” Native American voters face.
- Includes the Election Worker and Polling Place Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA). It strengthens legal protections for poll workers and their families against harassment.
Representative Clyburn’s House page speaks to Voting Rights, according to The Democracy Docket:
‘House Democrats are committed to protecting our democracy and ensuring that all eligible Americans have the right to cast a ballot that is counted. Voter suppression has proliferated over the past decade, and the elimination of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court in 2013 in Shelby County v. Holder has cleared the way for the enactment of many insidious obstacles to the ballot box. At the same time, campaigns are unduly impacted by large contributions and expenditures, corporate lobbying undermines the public interest, and our political system is susceptible to nefarious foreign influence.’
The House had already passed its companion bill, the For the People Act of 2019:
- ‘[It] expands voter registration and voting access
- Makes Election Day a federal holiday
- Bans purging voters from voter rolls
- Restores the franchise to Americans who have completed sentences for felony convictions.’
- ‘[It] promotes the adoption of paper ballots and ballot audits
- Ends partisan gerrymandering
- Protects election systems from cyberattacks
- Curbs the influence of big money in politics and
- Strengthens ethics laws.’
According to the Democracy Docket:
‘House Democrats are also working to document voter discrimination throughout the country to determine which jurisdictions should be subject to an updated coverage formula under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires the “preclearance” of changes to election laws in places with a record of discrimination. Preclearance is a vital tool to combat threats to the franchise that should never have been shelved by the Supreme Court, and it must be reinstated pursuant to the Court’s opinion.’
Leahy’s office’s section analysis continues below:
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