Dems to Control State Elections with John Lewis Bill
House Democrats are moving forward with an election bill that would give the federal government increased control over states’ voting procedures. Republicans view the bill as federal overreach, while Democrats say it is necessary to protect minority voters’ access to polls amid GOP efforts to tighten election security.
The proposal is named after John Lewis, a Martin Luther King aide, congressman, and champion of civil rights for Black Americans whose severe beating at the hands of Alabama police in 1965 led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Lewis died from pancreatic cancer in 2020.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a redrafting of the For the People Act, which was approved by House lawmakers earlier this year. The original proposal, which required states to allow mail-in and absentee voting for any reason, failed in the Senate after receiving support from just one Republican.
The revised legislation takes a different approach, instead requiring states to obtain federal approval before implementing changes to voting procedure. In addition, states “with a history of voter discrimination” would be subject to federal supervision while introducing changes to voting procedure.
Based on an analysis of voting-rights violations reported by The Wall Street Journal, the following states are likely to fall under this category: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.
The proposal also directs courts to consider the extent to which voting in a given jurisdiction has been racially polarized and the extent to which people in a demographic to be protected by a proposed election change have been elected to public office in that jurisdiction.
The John Lewis bill is a direct response to the dozens of voting measures passed by GOP-led states to enhance security following the 2020 election. Democrats claim these measures are somehow racist and say people should be able to vote without restrictions (unless of course you’re a Republican).
“Democrats continue to claim that our current system suppresses minority voters, and that new legislation is needed that provides the federal government with even more expansive powers over state authorities. But this is just false,” argues Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“[The bill] would federalize our election system, give more power to unelected career bureaucrats in Washington, and unconstitutionally erode the ability of states to oversee elections,” she continues. “[It would] unconstitutionally expand the federal government’s ability to reject commonsense reforms enacted at the state level related to things like voter ID laws, absentee voting, maintenance of voter rolls, the location of polling places, and the hours of operation.”
As noted in Tenney’s letter, the 2020 election saw a record turnout for minority voters.
Author’s Note: The John Lewis bill is clearly a power grab by the Democrats so they can control elections in GOP states and therefore win those elections.