I am happy to see the Chronicle continue to place Byron York on the Opinion pages because he is big on opinion and short on facts.
When this letter is published, Congress will have voted down the new voting rights bill that came before the Senate. Not enough Republicans support the bill.
York lists several proposed voting rights bill measures that he believes are bad. That’s his opinion, and I differ.
He says the bill will throw out every state voter ID law. He is wrong. According to the Brennan Center for Justice and FactCheck, there’s no blanket “ban” on voter ID laws in the bill, but there is an option for those who don’t have an ID to offer a signed statement instead during federal elections.
York says that “Democrats have used the unsupported notion of widespread voter suppression as the foundation for two bills – the "For the People Act" in the House and the later "Freedom to Vote Act" in the Senate. But it is not just Democrats who say the laws recently passed by state legislators can suppress the vote. For example, in Florida, the League of Women Voters of Florida, Black Voters Matter Fund, and Florida voters have filed a lawsuit to stop Gov. Ron DeSantis’ voter suppression laws. Nationally, the ACLU, JPMorgan Chase, AT&T, Coke, and Delta Airlines have expressed concern over voter suppression laws in the states where they do business.
York finds it wrong that the federal law may require same-day registration. Yet, 15 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) and the District of Columbia already have same-day registration. If it is secure and makes it easy to vote, why not expand it to all the states?
Universal mail-in ballots, secure, safe, and accurate, are also another method that makes it easier to vote. Five states already have universal mail-in ballots, including California.
York says that our democracy is not in crisis. He backs this statement by noting that the 2020 election saw the highest turnout in more than 100 years. It seems the election numbers were so high that they scared the Republicans in statehouses across the nation. Furthermore, it appears Black and brown citizens drove these numbers. These are groups that are traditionally Democratic voters. That’s scary for the party of Trump. Hence the voter suppression laws.