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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

What Biden Can Do to Protect Democracy

The New Republic has a panel discussion, “What Can Biden Do Now to Protect the Ballot? We Asked Eric Holder and Six Other Voting Rights Experts.Here’s what the president can do, now that major reforms are dead in the water in Congress.” Some excerpts:

Former Attorney General Eric Holder: ….with or without new federal laws, the Department of Justice should use its power to vigorously enforce the Voting Rights Act and constitutional voting protections, especially in states that have restricted ballot access in recent years….and the Biden Administration must continue to use its bully pulpit to reinforce that message to lawmakers and the American public. The White House must continue to call for action, including congressional action on voting rights. The country needs a reinvigorated Department of Justice that is closely following, documenting, and challenging voter suppression and election subversion in laws recently passed by states.

Trevor Potter, President of Campaign Legal Center and a Republican former chairman of the Federal Election Commission: The Biden administration can take at least four important steps: first, mobilize agencies to provide registration materials to eligible voters; second, guarantee voting access for eligible voters in federal custody; third, direct the Department of Justice to deploy election monitors and enforce existing voter intimidation laws; and fourth, prioritize providing accurate information about our election system. This would help make voting safe and accessible for all.

Chris Anders, Federal policy director at the ACLU: the Executive Branch has existing power to continue to urge federal agencies to provide expanded voter registration opportunities alongside their regular services, which can help reduce race and income-based disparities in voter registration.

Wendy Weiser, Vice president of Democracy at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law: The White House should insist that any compromise legislation meaningfully tackle race discrimination in voting and sabotage threats. It should encourage Congress to fund elections. And it should fully engage federal agencies in enforcing voting rights, protecting election officials and infrastructure, and ensuring access to registration and voting.

Ayo Atterberry, Chief strategy officer with the League of Women Voters: The White House should continue to work with civil society organizations like the League of Women Voters around electoral access and transparency and push Congress to find common ground on voting rights protections that restore the Voting Rights Act.

Fred McBride, Senior policy advisor with the Southern Poverty Law Center: ….we need the Biden administration to renew efforts to restore the Voting Rights Act and expand federal protections to increase access to the ballot box. Federal voting legislation remains the best way to protect voters and establish reasonable standards for access to polls.

One comment on “What Biden Can Do to Protect Democracy

  1. Victor on

    The right just sees voting in a fundamentally different way than the left does.

    The right sees voting as both a duty and a privilege. A privilege of citizenship (some further along the right think it should again just be a privilege of property/paying taxes) and a civic duty. The duty aspect is why they don’t think its government’s role to make voting easier.

    The left see voting as a right (many in the left see it as in individual right instead of a civic one and many further along the left see it as a “human” right and advocate its expansion even to non-citizens). In its discourse the left has forgotten the civic and collective components to voting.

    Voting isn’t similar to other choices in life that only affect the individual. When talking about making voting easier the left never addresses the issue of voting as a responsibility. This is most apparent when talking about voter identification, but has recently slipped into more recent innovations like voting by mail, drop off boxes, etc.

    Making voting easier isn’t self-evident as an ethical policy goal. You need to sell the rationale. Like on most policy issues, Democrats think if voters don’t realize by themselves the self-evident nature of the good in their proposals then voters are stupid.


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