Congressional Democrats are once again trying to push through reforms to elections by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, also known as HR4.
The bill’s main premise is to “correct” certain parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were effectively struck down in decisions by the Supreme Court in the last decade.
In one decision Section Four of the Voting Rights Act was deemed unconstitutional by the high court. That section of the law subjected certain states where voting discrimination was apparent to federal oversight of their election laws. It was a provision that was meant to last five years was renewed several times by Congress.
SCOTUS decided that the continual renewal of that provision is unconstitutional, citing the 14th amendment which asserts state’s rights to run their own elections.
The John Lewis bill would essentially return that federal oversight for certain states passing voting laws that some lawmakers see as voter suppression.
“HR4 is quite honestly the second attempt by this Democrat-controlled Congress to take away the local elections from our states,” said Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan on All Indiana Politics. “It’s even more drastic by creating a new bureaucratic position at the DOJ called more or less the ‘Czar of Elections’.”
Congress originally tried to pass voting reforms in the For The People Act, which was unable to advance out of the Senate. Sullivan said that this unelected “Czar” would be able to have input from the federal government on states election laws, both current and proposed future laws.
“Indiana’s stellar reputation for election security and integrity is because Hoosiers run Hoosier elections,” Sullivan added. “HR4 is another attempt by our federal government to take those voting rights away and make some uncertainty around our voting laws in the state.”
Sullivan said when legislation breeds uncertainty that means fewer people feel like their vote is secure, thus will make so fewer people will come out to vote.
Sullivan did not offer any comment on the voting reform laws being challenged in Texas but said that she feels Texas is trying to follow the example set by Indiana when it comes to running safe and secure elections.
As for the John Lewis bill, it passed the House before their summer recess but has an uncertain future in the Senate. It needs 60 votes to advance through the Senate filibuster.