A new poll finds that many of the provisions within a voting rights bill congressional Democrats are looking to pass are widely popular with Americans -- a sign that GOP outcry against the legislation has not worked.
The Pew Research Center survey found that "sizable majorities favor several policies aimed at making it easier for citizens to register and vote," with 61 percent of voters supporting automatically registering eligible citizens to vote, 63 percet saying anyone should be able to vote absentee without an excuse, 70 percent supporting giving people their voting rights back after serving their felony sentences, and 78 percent supporting two weeks of in-person early voting.
All of those provisions are within the "For the People Act," which House Democrats passed in March, and Senate Democrats are now rallying behind.
Republicans have vilified the act, making hyperbolic claims and flat-out lying about what the bill would do in order to justify their opposition to it.
Among the lies Republicans have told about the legislation is that it will allow undocumented immigrants to vote, makes elections more vulnerable to foreign interference, and rig elections in Democrats' favor.
None of those claims have much merit. Rather, the legislation would:
- Require states to implement automatic voter registration for federal elections. That means anytime an eligible voter has contact with a state agency — most often the Department of Motor Vehicles — they are automatically registered to vote. If they do not want to be registered, they can opt out;
- Give money for states to use paper ballots to prevent foreign interference in vote totals;
- Allow anyone who wants to vote by mail to do so without needing an excuse, as well as require states to have early voting for federal elections;
- And restore voting rights to those who have completed felony sentences.
Privately, Republicans worry that making it easier to vote will hamper GOP chances in future elections.
"H.R. 1's only objective is to ensure that Democrats can never again lose another election, that they will win and maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate and of the state legislatures for the next century," Cruz told a conservative group in a private call, according to the Associated Press.
It's a belief held by Donald Trump, who has said publicly that he believes Republicans wouldn't win elections again if people have easier access to the ballot box. It's believed to be part of the reason he railed against the explosion in absentee ballots in the 2020 election, which he blames in part for his loss.
And Trump's belief that more access to voting hurts their chances has led to an explosion of voter suppression legislation from Republicans in state legislatures across the country.
A number of states have already passed laws restricting the right to vote.
For example, Republicans in Iowa shortened the state's early, in-person voting period from 29 days to 20 days. And Texas Republicans are looking to make it even harder to vote by mail by requiring the disabled to show written proof of their disability in order to receive their absentee ballot.
Passing the "For the People Act" would block almost every single GOP voter suppression bill that has passed or is moving toward passage across the country.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.