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Elections - Whose job is it to manage them?

Bill Claustre laments that the Federal government attempted to “federalize future election” by taking away the power our founders gave to the states to manage our elections. He thinks that the Founders gave the states an exclusive right to manage elections without federal interference. He is wrong.

Under the Constitution, the states may determine the time, manner and place of holding election “but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.” (Article I, Section 4, Clause 1). Congress, since 1870, has from time to time stuck its thumb on the scares of justice to ensure that our elections are safe, secure, and open to all American citizens even when the states, like Florida, try to tip the scales toward one party.

Claustre also misrepresents the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021. It is far-right propaganda that this bill will be a federal “a power grab” designed to let “unelected bureaucrats . . . strike down . . . laws enacted by democratically elected legislatures in the states.”

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the most successful civil rights legislation in our country’s history until the Supreme Court gutted the law in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013. The Court further weakened the law’s protections against voting discrimination in another case in 2022 in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee. During the past year, state legislatures, like Florida, have placed into laws what most rational folks would call voter restrictions. Laws that target communities of color. The John Lewis Voting Act will help fix these abuses by states who wish to restrict communities of color from voting.

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore the original voting rights law to full strength, in part by once again requiring states with histories of voter discrimination to receive approval from the Department of Justice or a federal court before enacting voting changes.

Republicans do not — and cannot — offer reasoned explanations for why the law’s protections are any less important now than they were in 2006 when it was reauthorized with overwhelming bipartisan support. So instead, they offer a combination of misinformation and a regurgitation of the same criticisms they used against the Voting Rights Act.

Unfortunately, their claims are wrong, and many, like Claustre, rely on these blatantly false statements.

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