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Alabama Republican Senate hopeful Roy Moore believes America’s ills would be cured by turning back the clock.

In recent remarks, the twice-removed Alabama judge and accused serial sexual predator called for a return to the “moral basis” of the 1960s and 1970s, when women and sexual minorities lacked reproductive rights, healthcare was less available, black and other nonwhite Americans were forced to fight for basic protections, and LGBTQ people were criminalized.

According to an excerpt published Monday by the Alabama Political Reporter, Moore recently told a Republican men’s breakfast club that things were better during the Vietnam era.

“Back then we had immigration policy but we didn’t have people flooding our borders. We didn’t have gangs bringing drugs in. We didn’t have any of this,” Moore said.

“We have got to go back to what we did back in the ’60s and ’70s, back to a moral basis,” he continued. “Abortion was not legal when I went to Vietnam. … We had abortion laws in our country and our state. We did not have same sex marriage. We did not have transgender rights. Sodomy was illegal.”

Abortion was illegal in many states until 1973 and consensual gay sex was a felony in many states until 2003.

Moore’s desire for retrogress was a major issue in the December 2017 special election for the same Alabama U.S. Senate seat he is once again seeking.

In that race, Moore won the Republican nomination over appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R), but lost in the general to now-Sen. Doug Jones (D) after media outlets reported that he had co-authored a textbook that said women should not run for public office and had once proposed repealing the constitutional amendments that abolished slavery and gave women the right to vote.

Moore’s own “moral basis” also came into question in that campaign after nine women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Several alleged that Moore had engaged in sexual predation when they were in their teens and he was in his 30s.

One of those accusers claimed Moore had allegedly molested her when she was just 14. Under Alabama’s law then and now, that would have been a felony.

Moore denied the claim and all of the allegations of wrongdoing, filing a still-unresolved defamation suit against his accusers.

An October poll found Moore in second place in the current Republican field, though that was before former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he too would seek the seat he held from 1997 to 2017.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Eric Holder

The failure of major federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has left civil rights advocates saying they are determined to keep fighting—including by suing in battleground states. But the little bipartisan consensus that exists on election reform would, at best, lead to much narrower legislation that is unlikely to address state-level GOP efforts now targeting Democratic blocs.

“This is the loss of a battle, but it is not necessarily the loss of a war, and this war will go on,” Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general and Democrat, told MSNBC, saying that he and the Democratic Party will be suing in states where state constitutions protect voting rights. “This fight for voting rights and voter protection and for our democracy will continue.”

“The stakes are too important to give up now,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which for years has operated an Election Day hotline to help people vote. “Our country cannot claim to be free while allowing states to legislate away that freedom at will.”

In recent weeks, as it became clear that the Senate was not going to change its rules to allow the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to pass with a simple majority, there have been efforts by some lawmakers, election policy experts, and civil rights advocates to identify what election reforms could pass the Senate.

“There are several areas… where I think there could be bipartisan consensus,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, in a briefing on January 20. “These areas are all around those guardrails of democracy. They are all about ensuring that however the voters speak that their voice is heard… and cannot be subverted by anyone in the post-election process.”

Becker cited updating the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which addressed the process where state-based slates of presidential electors are accepted by Congress. (In recent weeks, new evidence has surfaced showing that Donald Trump’s supporters tried to present Congress with forged certificates as part of an effort to disrupt ratifying the results on January 6, 2021.) Updating that law could also include clarifying which state officials have final authority in elections and setting out clear timetables for challenging election results in federal court after Election Day.

Five centrist Washington-based think tanks issued a report on January 20, Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform, which suggested federal legislation could codify practices now used by nearly three-quarters of the states. Those include requiring voters to present ID, offering at least a week of early voting, allowing all voters to request a mailed-out ballot, and allowing states to start processing returned absentee ballots a week before Election Day.

But the report, which heavily drew on a task force of 29 state and local election officials from 20 states convened by Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, was notable in what it did not include, such as restoring the major enforcement section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. It did not mention the Electoral Count Act nor growing threats to election officials from Trump supporters.

“This won’t satisfy all supporters of the Freedom to Vote Act, but this is a plausible & serious package of reforms to make elections more accessible and secure that could attract bipartisan support,” tweeted Charles Stewart III, a political scientist and director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. “A good starting point.”

The reason the centrist recommendations won’t satisfy civil rights advocates is that many of the most troubling developments since the 2020 election would likely remain.

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By Rami Ayyub and Alexandra Ulmer

(Reuters) -The prosecutor for Georgia's biggest county on Thursday requested a special grand jury with subpoena power to aid her investigation into then-President Donald Trump's efforts to influence the U.S. state's 2020 election results.

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