Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) expressed skepticism to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s openness to discussing changes to election law as Democrats work to advance significant voting rights legislation in the Senate.
“I think this is a fake. I think it’s a way to try and get the two senators that we have who are not on board to go for something that won’t change the horrible, voracious change in the balance of power that will allow elections to slam things in the directions of Republicans in a dramatic way, in an unfair way, in an un- — small “D” — democratic way,” Schumer said.
McConnell has said that it is “worth discussing” changes to the Electoral Count Act, a move many Republicans have supported. Democrats have said that simply changing the 1887 law is insufficient and that the focus should be on broader election reform.
“That is not a substitute for the protections that are included in the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement act. That is why our focus is on those,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki, adding that that the Electoral Count Act “is not a replacement, it is not a substitute, and our focus remains on those two pieces of legislation.”
Schumer has made clear that the Senate would “consider changes to any rules which prevent us from debating and reaching final conclusion on important legislation,” including voting rights legislation, reigniting debates on whether or not to abolish the filibuster.
“I would ask you to consider this question,” he wrote in a letter to his colleagues. “If the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the state level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same?”
Schumer plans to force a rules change by January 17 if Republicans block the For the People Act and Freedom to Vote Act.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.