© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Control of the U.S. Senate is pending as Georgia begins to count the ballots
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An influential figure in Democratic circles, Stacey Abrams called on the U.S. Senate Sunday to exempt the electoral reform bill passed by the House of Representatives through the Republican opposition from a procedural hurdle called filibuster.
“Protecting democracy is so fundamental that it should be exempted from filibuster rules,” said Abrams, a former senior Georgia legislature and unsuccessful candidate for governor who helped Democrats get two runoff elections to the US Senate in their home state in January to win. State of the Union program.
The democratically run house passed a law on March 3 that aims to reform voting procedures, increase voter turnout and oblige states to commission independent commissions to redesign congressional districts in order to protect themselves from manipulation by partisans.
There is a debate among Democrats who tightly control the Senate thanks to the two victories in Georgia over whether the filibuster should be modified or even eliminated. This is a longstanding affair that makes it so that most laws cannot move forward with 100 seats without 60 votes in the Senate as a simple majority.
The filibuster has already been scaled back and does not apply to judicial or cabinet appointments and some budgetary measures, Abrams said. Therefore, it should be suspended for voting rights legislation. Abrams, a former minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, has emerged as a leading Democratic voice on voting rights.
Democratic President Joe Biden has said he would sign the electoral law if passed by Congress, but has also shown opposition to the full elimination of the filibuster.
The bill passed by the House of Representatives faces major challenges in the Senate under the current rules, as all 48 Democrats and the two Independents who meet with them would have to be supported by 10 of the 50 Republican Senators in order to overcome a filibuster.
Democrats have argued that legislation is necessary to break down electoral barriers and make the US political system more democratic and responsive to the needs of voters. Republicans said it would take power away from states and they vowed to fight it if it becomes law.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott noted that as Texas attorney general, he had repeatedly sued the administration of former Democratic President Barack Obama over various policy measures. Abbott said I would not hesitate now to file a legal lawsuit against the election measure if it is passed and Biden signs it.
“The most powerful tool we have is the process tool,” Abbott said on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures program.
Speaking of the same program, US Senator John Cornyn from Texas added, “We will fight this in the Senate and we will fight this in court if necessary.”
The 2020 election saw record turnout, aided by postal ballot papers that were heavily used by Democratic voters in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Democrats have state-level accused Republicans of pursuing laws designed to suppress voters for the benefit of the partisans. Former President Donald Trump made false claims that the 2020 elections were stolen from him despite widespread electoral fraud and irregularities. Since then, Republicans have introduced measures in numerous state legislatures that would restrict access to voting.
For example, a bill passed by Republican-controlled Georgia House earlier this month would restrict ballot boxes, tighten postal voting requirements and restrict early Sunday elections, and curtail traditional “Souls to the Polls” voter participation programs in black churches.