The power that the Republicans had over our elections feels like it is waning. Not only did the states usher in many new voting rights wins this past Election Day, but the new House of Representatives, which will be majority Democratic when the 116th Congress is sworn in in the new year, has set its sights on voting rights as a top priority.
As reported by NPR, the first bill the Democrats want to pass is a bill full of items intended to strengthen our democracy. Included in the bill will be automatic voter registration for the country (remember, some states have it already), a full restoration of the Voting Rights Act, and measures to decrease gerrymandering.
Now, with a majority in the House, the Democrats should be able to pass this bill. The chances of McConnell taking it up for a vote in the Senate is highly unlikely. That said, this is why it is such a good idea that the Democrats will move forward on this bill anyway:
✦ The bill makes it clear that the Democrats are a party that cares about voting rights, and the ability for all eligible citizens to vote without barriers.
✦ Every Republican who votes against it looks anti-democratic.
I can’t argue with a strategy that clearly defines for the American public what the Democratic party is FOR, and also makes Republicans take votes that make them look awful. 2020 is not far away, folks.
One final note — It will be enormously helpful to have strong voting rights legislation at the federal level, but while Congress is deadlocked for a while, we can make important gains with voting rights at the STATE level. Be on the lookout for opportunities in your state to push for increasing voting rights and breaking down voter suppression.