Simmering Voting Rights Fight Comes To A Head In Senate Hearing

March 24, 2021
Voters stand in line to cast their ballots during the first day of early voting in the US Senate runoff at the Gwinnett Fairgrounds, December 14, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Tami Chappell / AFP) (Photo by TA... Voters stand in line to cast their ballots during the first day of early voting in the US Senate runoff at the Gwinnett Fairgrounds, December 14, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Tami Chappell / AFP) (Photo by TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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March 24, 2021

As Republican state legislatures across the country take up restrictive voting bills after the extremely high-turnout 2020 election cycle, Democrats are seeing the need to codify voting rights in law as absolutely critical.

Currently, that Democratic push centers on H.R. 1/S 1, the For The People Act, an 800-page bill meant to expand and standardize voting rights. The Senate Rules Committee is meeting Wednesday to discuss and debate the legislation with a whole battery of experts, advocates and state officials.

The bill faces an uphill climb in the Senate, as, under current rules, it would require 10 Republican supporters to get past the filibuster. That has prompted speculation — aided by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) cryptic promises that “everything is on the table” when it comes to passing this bill — that this legislation may become the catalyst for filibuster reform.

Schumer will deliver remarks at Wednesday’s hearing, a sign of the importance he is placing on the legislation.

Watch Live

What To Expect

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. and include testimony from:

  • Eric Holder, former attorney general and current chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee
  • Jocelyn Benson, Michigan secretary of state
  • Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice
  • Mac Warner, West Virginia secretary of state
  • Todd Rokita, Indiana attorney general
  • Trevor Potter, former GOP chair of the Federal Election Commission and president of the Campaign Legal Center
  • Fred Wertheimer, director of Democracy 21
  • Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United/Let America Vote Action Fund
  • Bradley Smith, former GOP chair of the Federal Election Commission and chairman of Institute for Free Speech
  • Lee Goodman, former GOP chair of the Federal Election Commission

Things We're Listening For

  • Testimony speaking to how sweeping the voter restriction push is nationwide
  • Republican attacks on the bill and expanded voting rights in general
  • Democratic concerns about aspects of the bill, including timelines and funding
  • Any crumbs on the future of the filibuster
More Less

As Republican state legislatures across the country take up restrictive voting bills after the extremely high-turnout 2020 election cycle, Democrats are seeing the need to codify voting rights in law as absolutely critical.

Currently, that Democratic push centers on H.R. 1/S 1, the For The People Act, an 800-page bill meant to expand and standardize voting rights. The Senate Rules Committee is meeting Wednesday to discuss and debate the legislation with a whole battery of experts, advocates and state officials.

The bill faces an uphill climb in the Senate, as, under current rules, it would require 10 Republican supporters to get past the filibuster. That has prompted speculation — aided by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) cryptic promises that “everything is on the table” when it comes to passing this bill — that this legislation may become the catalyst for filibuster reform.

Schumer will deliver remarks at Wednesday’s hearing, a sign of the importance he is placing on the legislation.

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