House Democrats passed what they call a voting and ethics rights bill over unanimous Republican opposition last night, advancing to the Senate what would be the largest overhaul of the U.S. election law in at least a generation.
H.R. 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process, was approved on a near party-line 220-210 vote.
The legislation purports “To expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and for other purposes.”
U.S. House Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA) lashed out after the bill’s passage. “Every single American should be OUTRAGED by this: Democrats just voted to ban voter ID nationwide and force every state to permanently expand mail-in voting,” he said in a tweet.
Every single American should be OUTRAGED by this:— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) March 4, 2021
Democrats just voted to ban voter ID nationwide and force every state to permanently expand mail-in voting.
H.R. 1 does not ban photo ID nationwide, nor does it force every state to permanently expand mail-in voting, although voting rights experts agree it should do both, they said.
In the bill, however, one section says, “If an individual in a State is eligible to cast a vote in an election for Federal office, the State may not impose any additional conditions or requirements on the eligibility of the individual to cast the vote in such election by absentee ballot by mail.”
It then says, “A State may not require an individual to provide any form of identification as a condition of obtaining an absentee ballot, except that nothing in this paragraph may be construed to prevent a State from requiring a signature of the individual or similar affirmation as a condition of obtaining an absentee ballot.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also decried the legislation from the House floor on Tuesday where he said, “Democrats want to use their razor-thin majority not to pass bills to earn voters’ trust, but to ensure they don’t lose more seats in the next election.”
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