Speed Reads

Voting Rights

4 voting reforms Democrats should zero in on, according to a law professor

Congressional Democrats should trim their "mammoth" HR 1 voting rights bill if they want it to have even a small shot at garnering some Republican support in the Senate, Richard Hasen, the chancellor's professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, argued in an op-ed for The Washington Post on Tuesday.

The sweeping bill, which passed the Democratic-majority House last week, is all but guaranteed to fail in the upper chamber, but Hasen thinks if Democrats zeroed in on four more specific reforms, they could gain momentum.

The first element in Hasen's reimagined version of the bill is the restoration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act preclearance provision that required states with a history of discrimination in voting to get federal approval before implementing any voting rules. The Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the provision was outdated because it wasn't tied to current voting discrimination, but Hasen thinks Congress could reenact it based on a new, contemporary framework.

A more focused bill, Hasen writes, should also include requirements for states to offer online voter registration, at least two weeks of some form of early voting, and potentially even no-excuse absentee balloting.

Hasen then turned to election security, suggesting Congress could require that states use voting machines "that produce a piece of paper that can be counted in a recount" and put in place measures "to protect the integrity of voter registration databases." Those reforms could "promote public confidence" in their votes, Hasen writes.

Finally, Hasen would target gerrymandering, with Congress requiring states to employ bipartisan or nonpartisan committees to draw congressional district lines. Read the full piece at The Washington Post.