The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has just passed an update to voting rights legislation.
They say its aim is to restore voting rights that were thrown out by the Supreme Court in 2013.
As Pelosi vouched for the bill prior to the vote,
“Action is urgently needed to combat the brazen voter suppression campaign that is spreading across America. We must, we must restore the strength of the voting rights act.”
Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper called the passage of the bill an attempt to "combat voter suppression."
Adam Schiff also shared this sentiment:
However, Republicans aren't seeing eye-to-eye with Democrats on this bill, with only one Republican (Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick) voting for the legistlation along with House Dems.
Instead, conservatives claim that the passage of the "voting rights" bill is really an attempy by Democrats to undermine state voter I.D. laws ahead of the 2020 election.
Conservative organization Heritage Action called the bill a "thinly veiled effort by the left" to overturn voter I.D. laws and inhibit state's rights ensure the integrity of elections:
Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia has also slammed the bill:
The New York Times has more to say on the House's passage of the bill and Republican opposition:
The House voted on Friday to reinstate federal oversight of state election law, moving to bolster protections against racial discrimination enshrined in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the landmark civil rights statute whose central provision was struck down by the Supreme Court.
Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, who was beaten in 1965 while demonstrating for voting rights in Alabama, banged the gavel to herald approval of the measure, to applause from his colleagues on the House floor. It passed by a vote of 228 to 187 nearly along party lines, with all but one Republican opposed.
The bill has little chance of becoming law given opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate and by President Trump, whose aides issued a veto threat against it this week.
The measure is a direct response to the 2013 Supreme Court decision in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, in which the justices invalidated a key portion of the law. They asserted 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.
The original Voting Rights Act, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as a centerpiece of his civil rights agenda, was meant to bar states from imposing poll taxes, literacy tests and other methods to keep black people from voting. Democrats argued that while such overt barriers are gone, they have been replaced by stricter voting laws adopted by 25 states since the Shelby decision.
“Selma is still now!” thundered Representative Terri A. Sewell, Democrat of Alabama, the chief sponsor of the measure, during debate on the measure on the floor. “I know I’m not the only black and brown colleague of ours who owes their very presence in this chamber to the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965.”
Republicans, for their part, argued that the bill would trample on states’ ability to dictate their own election rules by abusing measures in place to prevent voter disenfranchisement.
“The bill before us today would turn those federal shields that protect voters into political weapons,” said Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, adding that the legislation would do so “when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that those states or localities engaged in any discriminatory behavior when it comes to voting.”
The debate underscored the deep partisan polarization that has taken hold on issues related to voting and elections in recent years. In 2006, the last time the Voting Rights Act was updated, the measure passed overwhelmingly in the House, where large majorities of both parties supported it, unanimously passed the Senate, and was signed into law by a Republican president, George W. Bush.
The Washington Times added:
Democrats sought to update the law with their majority after the 2018 midterms saw a number of controversies involving issues of voter access, particularly voter-ID laws.
Republicans slammed the bill as an unnecessary power grab over local elections.
Rep. Doug Collins, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, also criticized them for pushing the bill through even as the House is in the midst of impeachment proceedings.
“Democrats continue to, at this break neck speed, of everything else we have going on and now today a partisan bill comes to the floor to prevent states from running their own state and local elections when we are dealing with impeachment and discussing elections at the same time,” the Georgia Republican said.
The bill, like many others approved by the House, is likely to be dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The folks over at The Conservative Review also shared some excellent insight:
“Action is urgently needed to combat the brazen voter suppression campaign that is spreading across America,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said said at a press conference ahead of the vote. “We must, we must restore the strength of the voting rights act.”
But what kind of “voter suppression” does the bill go after? House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., put it plainly when he called the legislation “a good step to right the wrongs that’ve dismantled the fundamental right to vote through Voter ID laws, purging voter rolls & closing majority-minority polling places.”
And while the bill’s proponents portray it as an effort to protect voting rights, conservatives criticized the measure as undermining efforts to combat voter fraud by exerting more federal government control over state and local election practices.
“This bill would essentially, federalize state and local election laws when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that those states or localities engaged in any discriminatory behavior when it comes to voting,” said top House Judiciary Committee Republican Rep. Doug Collins, Ga., in a statement sent out ahead of the vote.
“Full protections are afforded under current federal law for all those with valid claims of discrimination in voting,” Collins explained. “Unfortunately, the bill before us today would turn those federal shields that protect voters into political weapons.”
“Supporters of the legislation simply want to reverse state voter identification laws,” the Club for Growth said in opposition to the measure. “Voter ID laws protect the integrity of the ballot box. This legislation would sacrifice that integrity by allowing the possibility of more illegal votes to be cast and the will of legal voters’ decisions to be thwarted by voter fraud.”