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Sen. Sinema deals likely fatal blow to Democrats' plan to federalize elections

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
by WorldTribune Staff, January 13, 2022

Arizona Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Thursday delivered what is likely the final nail in the coffin of the Democrat Party's effort to federalize elections.

Sinema, in a speech on the Senate floor, said she will not vote to weaken the Senate's 60-vote filibuster threshold.

"There's no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. There's no need for me to restate its role in protecting our country from wild reversals of federal policy," Sinema said. "This week's harried discussions about Senate rules are but a poor substitute for what I believe could have and should have been a thoughtful public debate at any time over the past year."

Sinema added: "But what is the legislative filibuster, other than a tool that requires new federal policy to be broadly supported by senators, representing the broader cross-section of Americans… Demands to eliminate this threshold from whichever party holds the fleeting majority amount to a group of people separated on two sides of a canyon, shouting that solution to their colleagues."

By sticking to her support for the filibuster, Sinema likely effectively killed two elections bills Democrats attempted to push through over unified Senate GOP opposition.

The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday morning combining both of those original pieces of legislation: The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. But it will not get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate, which is split 50-50 on party lines.

Opponents say the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act would give the Department of Justice the power to veto changes of polling place locations, voter ID and registration requirements, and the boundary lines in redistricting in every single state. It would also amend the Voting Rights Act (VRA) to change legal standards to make it extremely difficult for states to defend themselves against meritless litigation filed by advocacy organizations to void state laws that protect election integrity.

Opponents say the Freedom to Vote Act (a version of the House's H.R. 1) would force states to implement automatic voter registration, early voting, same-day registration, and no-fault absentee balloting. It would require states to allow ballot harvesting, ban voter ID laws nationwide, and limit access to federal courts for anyone who challenges such legislation.

The Freedom to Vote Act would require states to automatically register people (not necessarily “citizens”) whose names are in government databases (such as with the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Federal Bureau of Prisons). It would ban witness signature or notarization requirements for absentee ballots, prevent election officials from verifying voter eligibility of voters and removing ineligible names from voter rolls, and expand government censorship of political speech and activity (including online speech).


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