Battle for US election laws intensifies: ‘The last chance to save democracy’
A heated debate on the foundations of American democracy will begin in the US Senate tomorrow. With Republicans changing local election laws across the country. And Democrats who see this as undermining democracy. So the point of the debate is “a fair election,” but both parties seem to mean something completely different.
Democrats have proposed two new laws to ensure equal access to the polls for all. But despite their majority in Congress, they seem unable to pass those laws. Two senators from their camp support amending the law, but block the way it should be passed.
And so President Biden has been on the offensive since early this month. He says America is fighting a “battle for the soul of the nation” and Republicans are on their way to anarchy. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called it diatribes from a “reckless and poignant” president.
These fierce words receive additional weight today on Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday in America. Part of King’s struggles in the 1950s and 1960s revolved around the equal right of minorities to participate in the democratic process. According to many black Americans, it is Promised Land which the king now saw was once again banned by the republicans.
Changes in 19 states
Because that’s what Democrats care about. Since the 2020 presidential election, the prevailing story in the Republican Party has been that widespread fraud had been committed in that election. This claim has been refuted in dozens of lawsuits, including top officials in the administration of Biden’s predecessor, Trump, calling him a lie.
However, in 2021 this story led to business happening in many places in America. The 19 states in which Republicans have a majority in the state parliament have passed legislative changes that alter election rules.
For example, mail voting and the ways in which a voter can identify themselves is restricted. The number of polling stations will be reduced. Actions that will lead to lower turnout: Notorious voter suppression. This affects Democrats, especially poor Americans and minorities such as blacks.
Additionally, the way election results are determined is changing in a number of states. In Arizona, for example, a majority in the state parliament can now invalidate the result. In Georgia, a commission is mandated to be appointed by Parliament. Republicans retain a majority in the state parliament. This is how the party’s interests come between the voter and the election outcome, Democrats say.
Reporter Marieki de Vries was in Georgia last weekend, the cradle of the civil rights movement in America. There are other business meetings to get to the ballot box these days:
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