A bi-partisan coalition of Democratic and Republican senators are joining up for a trojan horse attack on election integrity. Senator Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator from West Virginia, and Lisa Murkowski, a Republican senator from Alaska, seek to re-authorize the Voting Rights Act.
It may seem innocuous enough, but the amendment would restore the politicized Department of Justice’s authority to block states seeking to make changes to election laws. A release was filed on the senators’ joint effort to restore the DOJ authority:
“Inaction is not an option. Congress must come together – just as we have done time and again – to reaffirm our longstanding bipartisan commitment to free, accessible, and secure elections for all. We urge you to join us in calling for the bipartisan reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act through regular order. We can do this. We must do this,” they wrote in the letter.
“We reflect not just on the positive impact this legislation has had on individual Americans’ ability to exercise their most fundamental right – the right to vote – and the strength of our democracy writ large, but on the important work we still have to do to realize that promise of ensuring the right of all to vote,” the letter continued.
“Congress last reauthorized the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2006,” the Hill notes. “But the Supreme Court, in 2013, gutted the law when it struck down the formula for determining if state and local governments were required to get Justice Department preclearance for voting and election changes, arguing that it was outdated.”
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“Democrats have rallied around the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would revive the formula and try to strengthen the 1965 law,” the report added.
“But while previous reauthorizations of the Voting Rights Act have gotten bipartisan support, the bill would likely face challenges getting the votes needed to defeat a filibuster in the Senate,” the report continued. “Murkowski was the only GOP co-sponsor for the bill during the previous Congress.”
Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator who has defied the party on numerous radical agenda items, including eliminating the filibuster and court-packing, has stated his opposition to the “election reform” law H.R. 1, which would gut voter ID laws in U.S. states.
When he was asked about H.R. 1 in March, Manchin told reporters there are “many good things” about it but Congress “should not at all attempt to do anything that will create more distrust” in elections, Forbes reported.
“We had an insurrection, Jan. 6, because of voting, right,” Manchin said. He predicted passing the bill would make “more of a divisive and partisan issue out of the most divisive issue America has going on right now.”
Manchin did express interest in “expanding voter access,” which is a dubious position since eligible U.S. citizens are not inhibited from voting. There is virtually zero data evidence to support the claim that voter ID laws reduce election turnout.
A major study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research based on ten-years of voting data in the United States from 2008-2018 found that voter ID laws “have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.” The study was conducted by Enrico Cantoni at the University of Bologna and Vincent Pons at Harvard Business School and was published in February 2019.
This international study has been supported by additional research on the issue. “This latest [NBER] study echoes the conclusion of others, including a landmark report by The Heritage Foundation in 2007 finding that voter ID laws don’t reduce voter turnout, including among African-Americans and Hispanics,” the Heritage Foundation noted. “These voters were just as likely to vote in states requiring photo identification as in those that don’t.” Even left-leaning Vox News conceded that voter ID laws don’t reduce voter turnout.
The bi-partisan effort to restore the Voting Rights Act would give a veto on election laws to a Justice Department that has been weaponized by radical Democrats. It would be a surreptitious method to block election integrity laws without senators having to be put on the record for passing H.R. 1.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.