(TargetLiberty.org) – Republicans have managed to thwart yet another attempt to push forward on new nationwide election rules. While DNC leaders voted unanimously in favor of ending Senate debate over the Freedom to Vote Act on Wednesday, October 20, GOP leaders stood equally united in their refusal to vote in favor of the agenda. Will Democratic Party leaders take drastic action in an effort to force the contentious piece of legislation through?
A Tight Race
Results from Wednesday’s 49-51 Senate vote showed a clean split across party lines on the issue. In fact, the initial count sat at precisely 50-50 until Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) changed his vote to no at the last minute. That left Democrats exactly 11 votes short of the 60-count threshold required for the legislation to progress.
Schumer’s decision to retract support for the bill wasn’t an act of defiance or a sign he plans to rebel against his own party. Instead, he also filed a motion to reconsider, which effectively grants him the right to bring the bill up again sometime in the future. Perhaps Democrats intend to wait until they know they can secure a win.
A Fierce Debate
At the crux of the voting rights issue are two very important and parallel concerns, both of which touch on points covered within the US Constitution.
Democrats accuse Republicans of purposefully instituting partisan restrictions on voter access in an effort to shore up and preserve their own base. They say GOP leaders in states such as Arizona, Texas, and Georgia are taking steps to push forward new laws that make it harder for people of color to vote, thereby directly interfering with democracy for their own personal gain.
Republicans, on the other hand, worry that the kind of legislation buried within the Freedom to Vote Act serves as a slippery slope empowering government overreach. It not only nationally standardizes mail-in and early voting processes, but also forces previously ignored political groups to disclose information about their financial donors. That would effectively render states and local elections officials powerless to make their own decisions.
The result of this clash of opinions became blindingly clear on Wednesday, when the Freedom to Vote Act totally stalled in the Senate. Still, that doesn’t mean the debate about voting rights is over, or even that Democrats plan to finally give up their crusade. At best, it buys time for Republicans to strategize about what the DNC might do next.
Of particular concern for the GOP are calls from left-leaning activists and political groups for Biden to take action. Many feel the president should exercise his powers by doing away with the 60-vote threshold while others feel he should sign an executive order instituting an exception to the rule for any issue related to voting rights.
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