Florida on Thursday joined Georgia in enacting a sweeping Republican election law that constricts voting rights in the state, and Texas, which already had some of the most stringent voting laws in the country, is on the cusp of joining them. Democrats were not able to stop the new voting laws in the country's biggest red states, but House Democrats passed their own countervailing national voting rights legislation, the "For the People Act" or HR1, in March, and Senate Democrats are working on their own version, S1.
When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that "100 percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration," these voting reform bills might have been what he had in mind. McConnell has publicly and privately conveyed his fervent opposition to the legislation. But "what's different, conservatives say, is his personal level of commitment behind-the-scenes to educate activists on just how damaging the legislation would be to the future electoral prospects of Republicans," McClatchy D.C. reports.
"So many times the conservative movement only works with McConnell when it's a Supreme Court nomination, or a Supreme Court fight," Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action, tells McClatchy. "And so we've been trying to change that with HR 1 and S1 and really make this fight similar and more akin to a Supreme Court fight, where it's like an all-hands-on-deck effort."
As the Senate prepares to mark up the legislation in the Rules & Administration Committee next week, "some progressives have warned that McConnell is taking the legislation more seriously than even Democrats are," McClatchy reports. "At the moment, McConnell looks to hold the advantage," with moderate Democrats "fretting about the sheer size of the bill" and Republicans confident Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will side with them in the 50-50 Senate.