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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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The passage of new voting rights legislation in the House Friday should ring out across the country. For two reasons, actually.
One is, of course, it puts the lie to the Republican dishonesty that House Democrats have pursued their impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump to the exclusion of accomplishing any actual legislation.
(But the truth is that the House has approved close to 400 bills to meet a variety of national needs. It has been Republican leader MoscowMitch McConnell in the Senate, who quite disingenuously, has refused to bring them up for consideration. The fact that the Republicans have continued to baldly lie on this fact is shamefully dishonorable but no one can mistake MoscowMitch and his crew as patriotic Americans.)
But the larger importance of Friday’s action is the next big step towards resolving a major voting crisis which has only been getting worse since the Supreme Court struck down a major portion of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2013.
A majority of the high court found that the federal oversight of elections was no longer necessary in nine states, mostly in the South, because of strides made in advancing voting rights since passage of the 1965 law.
However, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that Congress remained free to try to impose federal oversight on states where voting rights were at risk, but must do so based on contemporary data. The measure passed on Friday, officially titled the Voting Rights Advancement Act, is an attempt to do just that.
Voter suppression has become a scourge around the nation in recent years, but nowhere more obvious or pronounced than the 2018 gubinatorial election in Georgia where Democrat Stacey Abrams came within a whisker of winning in the Peach State but for what was fairly obvious suppression where Republican candidate Brian Kemp was allowed control over voter rolls and referee his own election.
Sadly, there is little chance that the Voting Rights Advancement Act will become law in the short term, because true-to-form, MoscowMitch will prevent it from even seeing the light of the Senate floor.
However, this vote should ring clear as a bell that yes, Democrats are hard at work and particularly hard at work at protecting the civil and voting rights who need them most.
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