Utah Senator Mike Lee stands up for the right of states to suppress minority voting rights | Raymond A. Hult/The Salt Lake Tribune
With the House having recently passed an historic election reform bill (HR1), Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s immediate response was “Everything about this bill is rotten to the core. It was written and held by the devil himself.” More recently, after Georgia Republican legislators passed a restrictive voter election law that Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola criticized as a blatantly suppressing the minority vote, Lee ranted, “I find that kind of intrusion unseemly and inappropriate. It’s wildly partisan what they’re doing. I think they should both issue an apology to the voters of Georgia.” Reviewing some of the provisions of the Georgia bill, I wondered what he found so unseemly, inappropriate and requiring an apology. It limits the number of drop boxes in every county as well as the hours they can be open. It prohibits automatically sending by-mail ballot applications to registered voters and shortens the period such requests can be made. It tightens ID requirement for casting an absentee ballot. It prohibits anyone from giving food or drink to voters waiting in line at a polling place. Everything contrary to voting in Utah and obviously intended to make it harder for minorities to cast their votes. Reviewing the main elements of HR1, I wanted to see exactly what may have caused that visceral rejection by Lee. Historically, what many consider to be one of the most profoundly significant legislative achievements in American history, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 1965. It enforced voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, most significantly attempting to ensure the right to vote by Black Americans.