Fresh from the November elections in which both parties complained that voters’ rights had been curtailed, House Democrats are pushing election reforms as a central tenet of their legislative agenda for the new Congress. The move, spurred in part by the efforts of Republican-led state governments to scale back early voting, likely will fall on deaf ears in the GOP-controlled House. And the push has gained even less traction in the Senate, although Democrats hold a majority there. But Democratic leaders in the lower chamber say they’re undeterred in their quest to make it easier for Americans to vote — an effort they say goes to the heart of democracy.
“The urgent need to address flaws in the electoral system became even clearer after our most recent election,” Rep. John B. Larson of Connecticut, chairman of the House Democrats’ Task Force on Election Reform, said Jan. 3, the first day of the 113th Congress. “It is crucial that we work to end voter suppression and civil rights abuses (and) make it easier for citizens to cast ballots.”
The task force, formed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, already this Congress has spawned several election and campaign-finance reform bills. One, the Streamlined and Improved Methods at Polling Locations and Early (SIMPLE) Voting Act, would require states to establish 15 days for early voting and require that nobody have to wait more than one hour in line to vote.
The bill also would provide the Justice Department greater authority to enforce federal laws and bring civil action against states and jurisdictions that don’t meet such federal goals.
Full Article: Democrats press vote reforms – Washington Times.