Claire McCaskill’s question on changing the filibuster to support voting is one Joe Manchin needs to answer now!
Governor Larry Hogan told the truth
“How can it be fair that Republican Legislatures all over the country are trying to suppress voters with a simple majority,” Claire McCaskill asked. “But yet the Congress is not allowed to address those suppression efforts with the same simple majority? That’s a pretty easy argument to make and, frankly, for everyone to understand. So hopefully, by putting pressure on Joe and Kirsten, they do the right thing, and we can get a carve-out for the filibuster.”
That is a critical point. Republican State Legislatures are not responding to the outcry by the people, academics, or politicians. They are indiscriminately changing laws to restrict the vote in Texas and many states where the GOP has complete control. Even in states with Democratic governors like Michigan, Republicans attempt to circumvent the rules.
How to bypass Whitmer and Michigan voters
To sidestep Whitmer’s opposition to voter restriction laws, the conservative activist group Secure MI Vote is proposing a ballot measure to restrict voting. While Michigan already requires an ID to vote, the Secure MI Vote initiative would eliminate the ability of those who can’t present an ID to sign an affidavit. The proposal also restricts how absentee ballots can be sent. Under the initiative, election officials will be prohibited from sending absentee voter applications or ballots to those who did not request them.
In Michigan, citizens can introduce an initiative on a ballot if they collect a certain threshold of signatures – at least “8% of votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election”. For 2022, “340,047 valid signatures are required” before the proposal can appear on the Michigan ballot. But even if those signatures are collected, the initiative is not likely to appear on any ballot. The state legislature is able to pass the proposed initiative with a simple majority before a public vote occurs. And legislation passed in this fashion is not subject to a veto by the governor.
That is the strategy that Secure MI Vote is pursuing. In the last 58 years, only nine initiatives have become law this way. In March, the Michigan GOP chairman, Ron Weiser, said that he planned to take the voting restriction bills that did not become law and collect “the signatures necessary for a legislative initiative so it can become law without Gretchen Whitmer’s signature”.
Republicans are trying similar techniques in states where the GOP has some modicum of control. It is time for the Federal Government to act. Kudos to former Senator Claire McCaskill for challenging opponents of a filibuster change.
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