The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, September 15, 2021 1:00 am

Democrats unveil new elections bill

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats unveiled a pared-back elections bill Tuesday in hopes of kickstarting their stalled push to counteract new laws in Republican states that could make it more difficult to cast a ballot.

But the new compromise legislation is likely doomed to fail in the 50-50 Senate, facing the same lockstep Republican opposition that scuttled their previous attempts to pass an even more sweeping bill. The GOP blasted the earlier measure as “unnecessary” and a “partisan power grab.”

Republican-controlled legislatures have enacted restrictions over the past year in the name of election security that will make it harder to vote and could make the administration of the elections more subject to partisan interference.

The spate of new voting laws – many inspired by former President Donald Trump's false claims of a stolen election – have ratcheted up pressure on Democrats in Congress to pass legislation that could counteract the GOP push.

“We have seen unprecedented attacks on our democracy in states across the country. These attacks demand an immediate federal response,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the lead sponsor of the new bill.

The revised legislation includes many of the same provisions as the previous bill. It would establish national rules for running elections, limit partisanship in the drawing of congressional districts and force the disclosure of many anonymous donors who spend big to influence elections, according to a summary obtained by The Associated Press.

But it also includes a number of changes sought by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, the chamber's most conservative Democrat. That includes provisions that would limit, but not prohibit, state voter ID requirements, as well as the elimination of a proposed overhaul of the Federal Election Commission, which was intended to alleviate partisan gridlock at the watchdog agency.

The new measure also dumps language that would have created a public financing system for federal elections. It would instead establish a more limited financing system for House candidates that states could opt to participate in.


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