As Democrats push for the passage of voting-related reforms in an attempt to roll back efforts by Republicans to "suppress the vote," Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Jaime Harrison told Yahoo Finance that it’s necessary to act now.
"What bothers me is that voting should not be a partisan thing. I would love to see a hundred percent voter participation and that means you can vote Democrat or Republican," said Harrison. “These are crucial pieces of legislation because there are more than 300 pieces of suppressive voting bills in 47 states across the country.”
The For the People Act, also known as H.R. 1 in the House and and S. 1 in the Senate, expands voter access, limits partisan gerrymandering, and imposes new transparency on dark money, among other reforms.
Democrats are pushing for its passage as GOP lawmakers look to implement new voting restrictions. Georgia Republicans passed a new law restricting voting access last month, and other states are moving forward with similar efforts. A recent report by the Brennan Center for Justice found that as of the end of March, legislators had introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states, up more than 40% from February. The states that have introduced the largest number of voter reform bills are Texas, Georgia, and Arizona, with 49, 25, and 23 bills, respectively.
“These bills are the grandchildren of Jim Crow,” said Harrison. “These are efforts to suppress the vote because we have seen this resurgence of voting, particularly in communities of color, and particularly with younger voters.”
“What you see from the Republican party right now is mind blowing,” said Harrison. “They are trying to find every way possible to keep people from the ballot box.”
H.R. 1 passed on a near party-line vote in the House early last month after just one Democratic lawmaker, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), voted against the measure.
But the bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where it requires 60 votes to pass, meaning that all 48 Democrats, plus two Independent senators and 10 Republicans would need to vote in favor of the bill to overcome a filibuster.
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