September 28, 2023

House Republicans present new ‘election integrity’ bill

WASHINGTON — Republicans in the House of Representatives on Monday unveiled voting legislation they say will make the election more secure, fulfilling a campaign promise that Democrats immediately criticized as rooted in former President Donald Trump’s denial.

The House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal elections, chose the city of Atlanta as the backdrop to introduce the bill and hold a hearing because it weighs in on a battle for polling access that has largely played out in a state level of In recent years.

The committee chose Atlanta as a nod to Georgia’s 2021 voting law, which added additional ID requirements for mail-in ballots, reduced number of ballot boxes, and banned people from bringing food and water to voters who are in the polls, among other changes. queue were waiting. The bill sparked a Justice Department lawsuit and national controversy, including a decision by Major League Baseball to pull the All-Star game from Atlanta.

Critics said Georgia’s law would make it more difficult to vote and disproportionately disenfranchise people of color. On Monday, the sponsor of the House’s new Republican bill, Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil, R-Wisc., said this was an incorrect narrative, as voter turnout increased between 2020 and 2022. voter turnout increased, as did the gap between white and nonwhite turnout. Nonwhite voter turnout fell between the 2018 and 2022 midterm elections, the Brennan Center found.

The House GOP bill makes certain federal changes to help states with election administration, including requiring the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to give states free access to voter data so they can weed out noncitizens and dead . from electoral lists. It would also reform the REAL ID law to require people’s citizenship status to be printed on identification documents such as driver’s licenses to check citizenship status at the polls. The bill also seeks to discourage states from allowing non-citizens to vote in local and state elections, by reducing their eligibility for subsidies under the Help America Vote Act.

“This legislation is the most substantive and conservative election integrity legislation to come before the House in more than a generation,” Steil said.

Lawmakers also took advantage of Congressional control over Washington, D.C., to propose a host of amendments to the city’s election bill, making it an example of effective election management. The new legislation would include requirements for photo ID, signature verification for mail-in ballots, a ban on same-day voter registration, and on mailing ballots to anyone other than those requesting them in the nation’s capital. The bill would also repeal the city’s new law that allows non-citizens to vote in local elections.

New York Representative Joe Morelle, the lead Democrat on the committee, criticized Republicans for holding up Georgia’s SB 202 voting bill as a model, saying it was only introduced because former President Trump lost the state of Georgia in 2020.

“SB 202’s Big Lie origin mirrors the Big Lie origin of Majority ACE Act. And the damaging effects of SB 202 on Georgia voters will be imposed on all Americans if the ACE bill passes nationally,” he said.

Other parts of the bill make it easier for nonprofits involved in politics to keep their donor lists private and remove some campaign finance rules.

Even if it passes the House, GOP election legislation will almost certainly go nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Democrats have also struggled to pass their own version of the voting rights bill, which they say would increase voter access in the face of a filibuster by Senate Republicans.

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