The House Is Poised to Pass a Major Voting Rights Bill—and Create a Helluva Battle in the Senate

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    • #408058
      sonofspy777
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      • Total Posts: 6,262

      With a supercharged assault on voting rights that includes introducing more than 250 new laws aimed at restricting voting in 43 states, the Republican Party this year has initiated a nationwide crusade against the foundation of American democracy. This week, House Democrats in Washington launched a counteroffensive that will soon move to the Senate, where this critical fight will likely lead to an all-out battle over how that chamber conducts its business.

      On Wednesday, the House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on—and presumably pass—HR 1, dubbed the For the People Act, the most significant democracy reform bill since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The bill would go a long way toward thwarting the new GOP voter-suppression efforts by enacting a wide range of pro-voter measures for federal elections. This includes nationwide automatic and Election Day registration; two weeks of early voting in every state; the expansion of mail-in voting; the restoration of voting rights to people convicted of a felony who have served their time; restrictions on discriminatory voter-ID laws and voter purges; and the creation of independent redistricting commissions for House districts to prevent extreme gerrymandering. The bill also cracks down on dark money by implementing public financing for congressional campaigns, and it establishes new ethics rules for federal officeholders.

      Nearly identical legislation passed the House in March 2019, but it was blocked in the Senate by then–Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who called it a “power grab” for Democrats. It has become an increasingly urgent priority for Democrats this year, following Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, the insurrection at the Capitol, and the wave of GOP-backed proposals to restrict voting rights in key states, such as Georgia. The GOP wish list includes rolling back mail-in voting, restricting ballot drop boxes, limiting early voting, and repealing automatic voter registration.

      https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/03/the-house-is-poised-to-pass-a-major-voting-rights-bill-and-create-a-helluva-battle-in-the-senate/

      “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
      ~Samuel Clemens

    • #408068
      HassleCat
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 7,503

      We get to see who is opposed to basic constitutional rights.

    • #408107
      beeninthewoods
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 117

      after looking into it more, it appears to completely hamstring third parties. It will be a power grab for the two party system more than anything. Sad. It does appear to have just enough good stuff in it to get decent folks to like it. But enough poison in it that the well informed will be opposed.

      • #408147
        Jim Lane
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 883

        @beeninthewoods @3fingerbrown

        The summary in the OP doesn’t include anything that jumps out at me as being unfair to third parties.  Is there something bad buried in the fine print?

      • #408672
        eridani
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 10,213

        Namely that we have a first past the post voting system.  Since WA State adopted the top two primary system, not a single third party candidate has been on the ballot for statewide office.  Seattle’s two parties are the Democrats and Socialist Alternative, which is why Kshama Sawant has been elected three times to the Seattle city council.

        Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #408114
      Snort McDork
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 5,066

      I tend to check my messages later then I should but sent link to my corporate Senators to pass it.

      But Joe Manshit will F it up. Just watch.

      I'm Snort McDork and I approved this message.

      "I like Birdy Num-Nums"

      If you come for Nina Turner, Your ish better be airtight like Tupperware" -Rashida Talib

      • #408167
        beeninthewoods
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 117

        Sorry I don’t have time right now to elaborate. Try looking up some info thru the Green Party. They have always been Pro Democracy and they are very alarmed by this bill and opposed to it.

    • #408141
      3fingerbrown
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 3,727

      Fucking over third parties of course.

      All governments lie to their citizen's, but only Americans believe theirs.

    • #408148
      PADemD
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      • Total Posts: 2,351
      • #408159
        Jim Lane
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 883

        @pademd

        The bill passed the House by a vote of 220-210.  If it had included eliminating the Electoral College, it would have been a constitutional amendment, requiring two-thirds for passage, so a narrow party-line majority would have meant its defeat.

        If you can figure out a way to get approximately one-third of the Republicans in each chamber to support national popular vote, I’m sure there are plenty of Democrats who would love to hear the plan.  We could then move on to getting approvals from the states, including the GOP-controlled ones.

    • #408170
      Phlem
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 87

      I missed the opportunity to post info on how this affects third parties but it wasn’t good and I’m not surprised.

      I will post when I find it again but I’m amazed at the how people immediately perceive this as a win instead of questioning the motivations of a know and well documented corrupt party.

      Romantic notions of politicians doing the right thing is just more “Hope and Change” and the turning of the wheel of our infinite misery. Like expecting two sides of the same coin to work together for the benefit of the people. FFS

      Decades of bait and switch and we’re haven’t learned a fucking thing.

      Not one.

    • #408172
      retired liberal
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 4,341

      This bill is just more ratchet and pawl legislation dragging us ever further to the dictatorship of the Authoritarian Right.

      We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
      The older we get, the less "Life in Prison" is a deterrent.
      Always wear a proper mask when out and about. The life you save could be both yours and mine.
      Don't forget that the S in IoT stands for Security.

    • #408185
      Bernie Boomer
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 552

      eyebrow-raising restrictions, even on a quick browse.
      The Green Party website says candidates will have to raise $25,000 to be certified for the ballot (not $5,000) but the language looks like they need to raise $50,000. Those two provisions are an “and” not an “or.”

      “SEC. 512. Qualifying requirements.

      And why are they trying to push through DC statehood in this thing? Shouldn’t that stand alone?

      • #408686
        Jim Lane
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 883

        @bernieboomer

        You write, “The Green Party website says candidates will have to raise $25,000 to be certified for the ballot….” This supposedly follows from section 512 of the bill.

        I couldn’t imagine that a federal bill sought to reduce ballot access, traditionally a role of the states. My skepticism was justifed. This provision has nothing to do with being certified for the ballot.

        Its actual subject is public financing of campaigns. Specifically, it seeks to reduce the excessive influence of big money in politics. It does so by providing federal “matching” funds for Congressional candidates. I use the scare quotes because it’s not a dollar-for-dollar match. Instead, the candidate would receive six times as much as he or she raised in small-dollar donations.

        All you have to do is read the damn subject heading. The language is found in Title V, Subtitle B, Part 2 of the bill, titled “SMALL DOLLAR FINANCING OF CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION CAMPAIGNS”. Section 5111 of the bill amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by adding a new Title V, having the same heading and including the new section 512. “Qualifying requirements” under section 512 means qualifying to receive the federal funds, not qualifying for the ballot.

        For a Congressional campaign, $50,000 is pretty small potatoes. A candidate who can’t raise even that much just isn’t a serious candidate. Get $10,000 in small-dollar donations from friends and family, add in $60,000 more from the taxpayers, and use the money to promote yourself in a way calculated to bring in customers for your real business – nice scam. Some fraudsters would try to covertly refund the initial contributions. Having some threshold makes sense, and $50,000 doesn’t strike me as unreasonable for a Congressional campaign.

        As for DC statehood, in a quick search I don’t see a provision that would make DC a state. There are findings relating to that subject (in section 2201), so you would expect those findings to support a later action item that actually enacted DC statehood, but I don’t think it’s in there. Even if it were, that would be appropriate. The bill is a sweeping attempt to reform the political process. Along with campaign finance, its other goals include combating voter suppression and promoting voter-verified paper ballots. The disenfranchisement of DC residents is another aspect of the political process that needs to be fixed.

        • #408705
          Ohio Barbarian
          Moderator
          • Total Posts: 21,888

          Anything that’s good for the Blue Team, I suppose. My ancestors didn’t fight in the Continental Army to enshrine oligarchy. Your Democrats, OTOH, have different priorities.

          It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

          You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

          • #408724
            Jim Lane
            Participant
            • Total Posts: 883

            @ohiobarbarian

            The charge that this bill imposes an “admission fee to get on the ballot” — a charge attributed by @bernieboomer to the Green Party — is false.

            If you don’t want to take my word for it, go read the bill for yourself — link — and you’ll see.  If you find a provision in there that you think deals with qualifying for the ballot, as opposed to qualifying for federal funding, please cite the section number and I’ll go read it.

        • #408747
          Bernie Boomer
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 552

          @Jim Lane

          Point 1 of your response: American politics is pay-for-play. By raising the bar to qualify for federal matching funds, the bill limits access. You are correct that it doesn’t technically keep candidates off a state ballot, but it does make it much more difficult for folks who do not have thousands of “small dollar” contributors to entertain the possibility.
          The democratic process shouldn’t be about who is the best funded. If your crazy neighbor wants to run for federal office and manages to raise $5000, that should be enough to qualify them for the matching funds. Are they going to win? Probably not – but that’s not the point.
          If Congress wanted to clean up the process, it would put absolute limits on the amount of money that can be spent pushing a candidacy. Real campaign finance reform, not work to narrow an already too narrow playing field.

          Point 2 of your response: I didn’t say they were trying to give Washington DC statehood – I said they were pushing it, which is very clearly the case in the section. Whether it is right, wrong, or indifferent for Washington DC to become a state (I am personally opposed), this bill seems like an odd place to put something like that.

          • #408762
            Jim Lane
            Participant
            • Total Posts: 883

            @bernieboomer

            You write, “By raising the bar to qualify for federal matching funds, the bill limits access.”  That’s inaccurate in two respects.

            First, the bill has nothing to do with access in the sense of ballot access — with being “certified for the ballot,” in the words of your original post.

            Second, in terms of the access that money provides, the bill does not raise the bar. Instead, the bill makes it easier to qualify for federal matching funds.  That’s because, under current law, no candidate of the Green Party (or any other party) qualifies for federal matching funds in a Congressional race.  Under current law, no such matching funds are provided. The bill will at least give the Greens a chance to qualify.

            Note also that the six-to-one match applies only to small-dollar donations.  I would guess that the Green Party doesn’t get many big-money donations.  Therefore, it will benefit proportionally more than do the major parties.

            An example: Suppose, in a particular Congressional race, the small-dollar percentage of total fundraising for each candidate is: Republican, 10%; Democrat, 50%; Green, 100%.  That means that, after the federal match (IF this bill passes), the Republican’s available funds will be 160% of what they would be without this bill.  The Democrat’s will be 400%.  The Green’s will be 700%.

            In absolute dollars, the major parties will get more than the Greens.  That’s because the bill increases the power of small donors, and the major parties have more small donors than do the Greens. It’s still the case that a greater percentage of the Greens’ donors will see their contributions matched.

            And let’s go beyond the partisan question about how each party is affected. Do you think that big money, specifically, has too much influence today? In the example I gave above, here are the effects of the bill: Big money goes from 90% of the Republican’s funding to 56.25%. Big money goes from 50% of the Democrat’s funding to 12.5%. That’s a good thing. It’s not a complete solution to the problem of money in politics, but it’s a significant improvement.

            As for the threshold, if your crazy neighbor raises only $5,000 for a Congressional campaign, I don’t want to give such a nominal “candidate” $30,000 of taxpayer money to blow on wild parties and a trip to Cancún, or on promoting his or her landscaping business. There are provisions in the bill about permissible campaign expenditures. Inevitably, some recipients would violate those restrictions. The Federal Election Commission has more important things to do than audit the spending of a whole bunch of crazies and fraudsters. The threshold will still allow federal funding for a Green Party candidate who is running a serious campaign (even one with no hope of winning), as opposed to a crazy neighbor.

            You write, “If Congress wanted to clean up the process, it would put absolute limits on the amount of money that can be spent pushing a candidacy.” Congress did exactly that. The Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional. From the Wikipedia summary (link):

            Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court on campaign finance. A majority of justices held that limits on election spending in the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 § 608 are unconstitutional. In a per curiam (by the Court) opinion, they ruled that expenditure limits contravene the First Amendment provision on freedom of speech because a restriction on spending for political communication necessarily reduces the quantity of expression. It limited disclosure provisions and limited the Federal Election Commission’s power. Justice Byron White dissented in part and wrote that Congress had legitimately recognized unlimited election spending “as a mortal danger against which effective preventive and curative steps must be taken”.[1]

            I agree with you that the bill is, at a minimum, pushing DC statehood. The disenfranchisement of DC residents is a problem with the political system, comparable to voter suppression, which the bill also addresses.  The inclusion makes sense.

    • #408645
      doh1304
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      • Total Posts: 1,705

      it’s having to spend time and effort to raise money rather than running a campaign.

      • #408662
        Bernie Boomer
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 552

        Who cares if the crazy guy who wears Speedos and a parka manages to qualify for the ticket? Is it going to kill democracy?

        • #408736
          retired liberal
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 4,341

          Too many crazies get elected and the people might start having a say in how our government is run again. Our owners don’t want that.

          We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
          The older we get, the less "Life in Prison" is a deterrent.
          Always wear a proper mask when out and about. The life you save could be both yours and mine.
          Don't forget that the S in IoT stands for Security.

    • #408854
      eridani
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      • Total Posts: 10,213

      –but only if you change your name.

      https://ballotpedia.org/Mike_the_Mover

      Mike the Mover was a 2014 National Union Party candidate seeking election to the U.S. House to represent the 1st Congressional District of Washington.

      He was a 2012 Republican candidate who sought election to the U.S. Senate from Washington.

      Mike Shanks changed his legal name to Mike the Mover to promote his household moving company based in Seattle and Edmonds, Washington. He has run for various state and federal offices over the past several decades.

       

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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