06/06/2021 08:00 am ETRepublican State Legislatures Are Winning Their War On American Democracy
2021 is on pace to be the worst year for U.S. voter suppression laws since 2011, and activists are worried that Democrats aren’t responding aggressively enough.
By Travis Waldron
Democratic state legislatures have pushed to expand voting rights, and Democratic leaders made major voting rights and election reform packages a top priority at the beginning of this Congress.
But the scope of Democrats’ expansive bills in state legislatures hasn’t matched the aggression of GOP efforts to curb voting rights, and neither has the Democrats’ strategy.
Key Senate Democrats — including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema — have refused to back filibuster reform or abolition to pass the For The People Act, the sweeping election reform and voting rights legislation that passed the House in March. (On Sunday, Manchin announced his opposition to the bill and reiterated his support for the filibuster, jeopardizing additional Democratic reform efforts.) Republicans are uniformly opposed to the bill, and this insistence on bipartisanship from key Democratic players will likely kill it.
Meanwhile, GOP state lawmakers have shown no such hesitancy to use their majorities to ram through the sort of major voting restrictions and election overhauls they believe will help them win — or give them more power to overturn elections if they don’t.