WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As Republicans in states including Georgia and Texas move to restrict voting access by passing what they call voter integrity legislation, Democrats and the Biden administration are slamming the measures as blatant acts of voter suppression.
Lawmakers in U.S. House of Representatives hosted a hearing Thursday to examine voting rights across the nation.
“We cannot tolerate any voter suppression,” Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., said.
He said that since January, 361 bills have been introduced at the state level to restrict voter access. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., described them as “sinister” and said Republicans have launched a crusade against the voting system despite no evidence of widespread fraud.
“We need federal legislation that helps clean up the corruption,” Bustos said.
Voting rights advocates agree. Marcia Johnson-Blanco of The Voting Rights Project argued the federal government must prevent state laws that disproportionately impact low-income people and communities of color.
“Without congressional action, the 2020 elections and its aftermath may become an inflection point in our nation’s history,” Johnson-Blanco told lawmakers.
House Democrats have already passed H.R. 1, a sweeping voter access bill, but Republicans in both chambers are staunchly opposed.
“H.R. 1 is a power grab,” Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., said. “It’s meant to keep the Democrats in power forever and really be the end of the Republican Party.”
“It’s the furthest thing from a voting rights bill. It’s a pay-the-politicians act and it’s a protect-the-politicians act,” Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., said.
He said states have the right to address election integrity as they see fit.
“Our state and local election officials, they’re doing their job,” Davis said.
President Joe Biden has called on senators to pass H.R. 1, but it remains a longshot.