Democrats Face Dilemma Over Voting: Compromise or Keep Pressing?

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A proposed change would clarify that the vice president has only a ceremonial and administrative role in counting electoral votes. Another would make it much harder to raise objections under the law, which currently allows only one senator and House member to challenge a state’s electoral votes. In the bill drafted by Mr King, Mr Durbin and Ms Klobuchar, voters could only be challenged if a third of each house opposed it.

In the House, four members of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack — Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, and Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Adam B. Schiff of California and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, all Democrats — are also working on a rewrite of the law on the electoral count. They also discussed whether to expand their bill to include measures blocking undemocratic electoral practices at the state level, such as allowing partisan lawmakers to select presidential voters instead of voters.

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Ms. Collins’ group discussed several measures, such as expanding permitted uses of federal campaign grants, now primarily for the purchase of non-internet-connected voting machines, to include recruiting and training election workers, the purchase of voting machines that create paper ballots and the expansion of cybersecurity. efforts. She said the group also agreed that tough new penalties should be created to counteract the kind of harassment and intimidation of election officials that Mr Trump’s supporters have inflicted, a provision taken from the Freedom of Speech Act. vote.

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They are still debating how far to go to block the wanton removal of nonpartisan election officials by state officials or partisan legislators. The Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill makes such actions a federal crime unless malfeasance by the election official can be proven.

For Democrats, this provision is a necessity. And they say that for Ms. Collins’ measure to gain traction, Republicans would have to agree to certain provisions of the suffrage bill to combat voter suppression, such as a minimum number of early voting days or a provision of compromise drafted by Mr. Manchin which accepts voter identification laws, but guarantees that a range of identifications would be acceptable.

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“Ensuring that votes are counted with both the provisions of the Freedom to Vote Act and the Electoral Count Act is very important, but it still does not replace protecting the right to vote of people right from the start,” said Ms. Klobuchar, who serves as chair. of the Rules Committee, which would review such legislation.

Ms Collins said her group – which includes two additional Republicans and two additional Democrats who have not publicly disclosed their involvement – will meet again the week after the suffrage bill is blocked.

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