One Party Encourages Voting And One Party Vehemently Discourages It. Every Wonder Why?

"The Proctologist" by Nancy Ohanian

Good government reform bill, H.R. 1 (S.1 in the Senate) isn't a revenue bill and can't be passed through reconciliation. It passed the House 220-210 but requires 60 votes to break the Republican Party filibuster before it can even be voted on in the Senate. With Republican-controlled legislatures in several states-- worst of all, Georgia, Arizona and Missouri-- trying to disenfranchise black and Hispanic voters, H.R.1 will not pass without filibuster reform (nor, for that matter, will a minimum wage hike).

John Sarbanes (D-MD), chief sponsor of the legislation summarized what the bill is designed to accomplish on his website:

1- Clean And Fair Elections

  • Improve Access-- H.R. 1 expands access to the ballot box by taking aim at institutional barriers to voting, including cumbersome voter registration systems, disenfranchisement and limited voting hours. H.R. 1 will create automatic voter registration across the country, ensure that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full voting rights restored, expand early voting and enhance absentee voting, simplify voting by mail, reduce long lines and wait times for voters and modernize America’s voting system.

  • Promote Integrity-- H.R. 1 commits Congress to build the record necessary to restore the Voting Rights Act, as embodied by the House-passed H.R. 4. It also commits Congress to deliver full congressional voting rights and self-government for the residents of the District of Columbia, which only statehood can provide, prohibits voter roll purges like those seen in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere and ends partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters.

  • Ensure Security-- H.R. 1 ensures that American elections are decided by American voters, without interference, by enhancing federal support for voting system security, particularly with paper ballots and also by increasing oversight of election system vendors and by requiring the development of a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions.

2- End The Dominance Of Big Money In Our Politics

  • Guarantee Disclosure-- H.R. 1 shines a light on dark money in politics by upgrading online political ad disclosure and requiring all organizations involved in political activity to disclose their large donors. H.R. 1 also breaks the so-called ‘nesting-doll’ sham that allows big-money contributors and special interests to hide the true funding source of their political spending.

  • Empower Citizens-- H.R. 1 strengthens the political power of hardworking Americans by creating a multiple matching system for small donations. This innovative, 21st-century system of citizen-owned elections will break the stranglehold of special interests on Congress and lay the groundwork for an agenda that meets the needs of the American people. The voluntary multiple matching system will be completely paid for by a new surcharge on corporate law breakers and wealthy tax cheats. That way, the individuals and corporations who break the public trust-- like Wells Fargo, which created fake bank accounts for unwitting customers, or Volkswagen, which lied about harmful carbon emissions from its vehicles, or Facebook, which violates Americans’ privacy, or Purdue Pharma, which fueled the opioid crisis-- bear the cost of building a more just and equitable democracy. H.R. 1 also reaffirms Congress’ authority to regulate money in politics, pushing back on the Supreme Court’s wrong-headed Citizens United decision.

  • Strengthen Oversight-- H.R. 1 ensures that there are cops on the campaign finance beat that will enforce the laws on the books. H.R. 1 tightens rules on super PACs and restructures the Federal Election Commission to break the gridlock and enhance its enforcement mechanisms. It also repeals Mitch McConnell’s riders that prevent government agencies from requiring commonsense disclosure of political spending.

3- Ensure Public Servants Work For The Public Interest

  • Fortify Ethics Law-- H.R. 1 breaks the influence economy in Washington and increases accountability by expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements, slowing the revolving door, preventing Members of Congress from serving on corporate boards and requiring presidents to disclose their tax returns.

  • Impose Greater Ethics Enforcement-- H.R. 1 gives teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, closing loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents, ensuring watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law and creating a code of ethics for the Supreme Court.

Polling by Data for Progress shows that most voters want to see the elimination of the filibuster if the Republicans use it for various nefarious purposes, like, for example, to try to disenfranchise voters:

Even Republican voters are ready to eliminate this archaic practice that was developed to deny black people equal rights to what people, even while their senators are willing to die defending this hill that is a last bastion of institutionalized racism.

Conservatives-- those wedded to the status quo-- do not want to see any of the transformational reforms Sarbanes is talking about put into place. And that's why conservatives fight so hard to keep the filibuster. Expanding-- or even just protecting-- voting rights is something that conservatives have fought against all throughout history. Today their defense of the filibuster is this generation of conservatives' last stand. An essay by Reid Wilson in The Hill this morning explains how Republicans are trying to further rig elections against the majority in state after state, something that could only be prevented through filibuster reform and passage of H.R. 1. "Republican lawmakers in Washington and around the country<' wrote Wilson, "are increasingly embracing measures to limit voting access after losing the highest-turnout election in American history. The party’s embrace of restrictive new measures and rollbacks of popular vote-by-mail and early voting programs that enjoyed bipartisan support just a few years ago is a reflection of the new incentive structure facing the Grand Old Party. Rather than recalibrating positions after an electoral loss to better appeal to the vast middle, Republicans today appear to see more advantage in excluding as many voters as possible from communities likely to vote Democratic."

In Georgia, the GOP-controlled state House this week voted to strictly limit absentee and early voting.
In Arizona, the Republican-controlled state Senate approved a measure to remove voters from a permanent absentee ballot list if they do not vote in two consecutive elections. Republicans are working on another measure to end the permanent list altogether.
In Missouri, the Republican-controlled state House began considering a measure to require identification when casting an absentee ballot. And Montana’s Republican-led state House approved new limits on those who can collect absentee ballots on behalf of voters.
...The moves to restrict votes came against the backdrop of the Democratic-controlled U.S. House on Wednesday night passing the broadest overhaul of national voting laws since the Voting Rights Act, expanding voter registration and access through widespread use of early and absentee voting while limiting a state’s ability to purge voters from its rolls. No Republicans supported the measure.
“What Democrats are doing is consistent with longstanding American values of treating all citizens equally and ensuring that they have equal voting power and influence, and what Republicans are trying to do is classic authoritarian democratic backsliding like you see in places like Hungary and Poland and Turkey and Venezuela,” said Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at the think tank New America.
Republican opposition to expanding voting rights reflects the current complexion of the two major party coalitions: Republicans are earning a growing share of the vote among older whites and rural residents, who face fewer impediments to voting and ballot access than the younger, more diverse communities that form the cornerstone of the Democratic Party.
In recent years, Republicans have relied on those voters to hand them power disproportionate to their share of the electorate.
Republican presidential candidates have carried the popular vote just once in the last eight elections, but the Electoral College has handed Republican presidents three terms over that stretch. Republicans have held control of the U.S. Senate for 18 of the last 40 years, though they have accounted for a majority of the popular vote for only two of those 40 years, and they have represented a majority of Americans for only two of those 40 years.
Republicans have wielded their majorities to install a six-vote majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. That majority has struck down key elements of the Voting Rights Act, and it appeared receptive to further restrictions on voting rights during oral arguments this week.
Study after study has demonstrated that restrictions on voting disproportionately impact minorities and low-income voters, who are less likely to have a government-issued identification and more likely to have to wait in line at a polling place. Women, minorities and people with disabilities are more likely to have their signatures on absentee ballots challenged. A new study out last month from researchers at Yale, Harvard and Penn found minorities were disproportionately likely to be incorrectly purged from Wisconsin voter rolls in recent years.
On the other hand, study after study has shown there is no widespread voter fraud in the United States. One review conducted by Loyola Law School elections expert Justin Levitt of elections between 2000 and 2014, in which a collective 1 billion ballots were cast, found a grand total of 31 different incidents of fraud. In 2016, four instances of fraud were discovered among the 135 million ballots cast.

And when voters fraud is discovered, it is invariably being carried out by uber-partisan Republicans, like crackpot Trump attorney Lin Wood and former congressman Steve Watkins (R-KS). Wilson cited a North Carolina Republican operative who was indicted in 2019 in connection with a ballot-tampering scheme; an Iowa woman who was arrested for voting twice for President Trump in 2016 and a Pennsylvania man who cast his dead mother’s ballot for Trump in 2020. Republicans have been so brainwashed by far right media that the Democrats are doing it, that they then do it themselves to even things up-- total projectionism, ala Donald J. Trumpanzee.