The Justice Department announced that Attorney General Merrick Garland will give a speech on Friday on voting policy. According to the DOJ, Garland will lay out, “concrete steps…to secure the fundamental right to vote for all Americans.”

The speech will foreshadow a battle between the Biden administration and red states that have recently passed election integrity laws.

In many states, not just where state-wide office holders are majority Republican, but the legislatures are majority Republican, election integrity has become a top priority after the 2020 election, and many of those states are passing their own election laws.

Axios reports, “President Biden said last week that he’s prioritizing fights for federal voting-rights protection.”

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Using An Old Playbook

During a recent interview, former President Barak Obama repeated what Democrats have repeated often, especially to minority voters, for decades: that the Republican Party is trying to suppress the minority vote.

In the interview, Obama claimed that the GOP was “rigging the system.” 

Obama also called on the corporate community to push back on, what he called, Republican-instituted “voter suppression methods.” 

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What Republican-Led States Are Really Doing

While Joe Biden calls the wave of election integrity laws being considered and passed by Republican-led state legislatures “Jim Crow 2.0 in the twenty-first century,” Republicans at the state level argue that they are working to protect not just the rights of voters but the integrity and fairness of all elections.

According to an Axios report, as of April 1, there were 361 state elections bills being considered in statehouses.

Five of those bills have been signed into law, 55 have had some sort of committee action or passed at least one legislative chamber. Most of the bills address issues such as more requirements on absentee voting, drop boxes, and voter ID. 

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The Obstacle For Democrats: One Of Their Own

As Democrats attempt to march toward what amounts to a federal take over of elections, the one person that continues to stand in the way of that is Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). 

The “For The People” Act has passed the House, but is hung up in the Senate.

Manchin has said repeatedly he will not vote for the bill.

In an op-ed written by Manchin in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin reiterates his position that if voting and election reform is not done in a bipartisan manner, it will further divide the country. 

Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized. Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage. Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it.

The Axios report added that Attorney General Garland will be addressing steps being taken to ‘expand the right to vote for all Americans,’ that will also be done in states that are “seeking to curb voter access.”  

Senator Manchin put his reasons for not voting for what his Republican colleagues have called a “power-grab,” in plain West Virginia language, “If I can’t go home and explain it, I can’t vote for it.”

 

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