The January 6th Select Committee has done critical work exposing the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election and facilitate an insurrection. The committee’s work has laid bare the insurrection’s violent rejection of democracy did not randomly occur in a vacuum. It was rooted in the Big Lie, whose legacy lives on in a wave of voter suppression legislation nationwide.
Although significant attention has focused on the more than 400 anti-voter bills introduced (several dozen of which have become law) in state legislatures since the insurrection, some federal bills also portend a dangerous trend. Congressional Republicans have introduced more than 30 anti-voter bills since the insurrection that have largely gone unnoticed. These anti-voter bills telegraph what congressional MAGA Republicans would like to do: make it harder for certain Americans to vote.
While none of these federal anti-voter bills will become law this year, if control of Congress switches after November’s election, a Congress with different leadership may try to advance some of these proposals. They would attempt to do at the national level what self-interested, power-hungry legislators in certain states are trying to do: make it harder to vote and in ways that are disproportionately targeted at Black and Brown voters.
Instead of silencing voters on a state-by-state basis, certain anti-democracy congressional Republicans are trying to disenfranchise some voters in one fell swoop. Some of the most egregious bills introduced by congressional Republicans so far include legislation to:
—Eliminate the National Voter Registration Act (aka “motor voter” law), which has helped tens of millions of Americans register to vote since it was passed in 1993.
—Prohibit states from counting a ballot cast in a federal election if it is received by the state after the date of the election, regardless of whether the ballot was completed and mailed by Election Day, which could disenfranchise tens of thousands of Americans currently serving in the military, among others.
—Prohibit states from using automatic voter registration systems, which have already been adopted in more than 20 red, blue and purple states, from Alaska to West Virginia.
—Prohibit states from providing absentee ballots to many voters.
—Restrict the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots.
—Block many Americans from no-excuse absentee voting.
—Prevent most individuals from voting at a polling place during an early voting period.
—Significantly curtail the Election Assistance Commission’s ability to provide investments to states to help run safe and secure elections.
—Relitigate the 2020 presidential election by establishing a commission to investigate the results of an election that then-President Trump’s appointees at the Department of Homeland Security declared was the “most secure in American history.”
To help educate voters about who is trying to protect their voices and who is trying to make it harder to vote, Common Cause has released two nonpartisan resources to show voters where members of Congress and congressional candidates stand on important democracy and voting rights issues. Common Cause’s “2022 Democracy Scorecard” (www.democracyscorecard.org) assesses all current members of Congress on whether they support key democracy reform bills to strengthen the freedom to vote, get big money out of politics, and other issues. “Our Democracy 2022” (ourdemocracy2022.org) is a candidate questionnaire for congressional candidates in which they respond to their positions on 20 key democracy issues that we also release biennially so voters can see which policies and bills candidates will support if they win elected office.
Readers can enter their addresses on both resources to see the positions of their members of Congress or congressional candidates on crucial democracy issues.
We’re not taking our eye off state legislatures either, some of which continue to try to pass anti-voter bills. We’ll continue to use lobbying, litigation and grassroots organizing to fight back against these efforts. Our extensive grassroots network of more than 1.5 million supporters and 30 state chapters will fight to protect our freedom to vote, and we will continue to mobilize partners and coalition allies to take action.
We invite Americans of all political stripes who care about protecting the freedom to vote and the voices of everyone to take action. Our nation and our democracy are stronger when every American has a voice in our elections.