Voter access or voter integrity? Congress debates Republican-backed bills

D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As Senate Democrats held a hearing Tuesday to confront what they describe as a sweeping effort to restrict voter access in Republican-led states around the country, Republicans are saying Democrats are intentionally misrepresentation moves it says are meant to ensure election integrity.

The hearing was titled, “Jim Crow 2021.”

“This is a full-fledged assault on voting rights,” Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., said at the hearing. “We’ve got to act. History is watching us.”

He called on his fellow members of Congress to pass legislation that will protect voter access to combat the Republican-backed laws.

“These laws aren’t really about integrity,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., derided the bills put forth in places like Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin. “(Former) President (Donald) Trump’s officials at the Department of Homeland Security declared that t he 2020 election was the most secure election in American history.”

“Give me a break,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, fired back.

He said Democrats and President Joe Biden are presenting the bills as an attack on access as part of their bid to overhaul the election system.

“These claims about Georgia aren’t about truth,” Grassley said. “They’re about politics.”

“It’s a power grab,” agreed Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

He said in the end, states have the right to pass whatever election laws them deem fit to strengthen the integrity of their voting systems.

“There is no Jim Crow 2.0 moving its way through the country,” he said. “There’s an effort to know you are who you say you are.”

House Democrats have already passed election reform bills. It’s unclear if the Senate will do the same. A growing number of progressive groups are calling on Senate Democrats to get rid of the filibuster, which would clear the way to pass legislation without Republican support.

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