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Can Biden's proposed voting changes actually pass?

Election 2021 Voting
Posted at 2:33 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 16:34:34-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Voting rights will take center stage Tuesday as President Joe Biden delivers a major address on the topic in Georgia.

But can the President actually pass what he is proposing?

WHAT DEMOCRATS WANT

New nationwide standards for mail-in voting, early voting and voter registration are among the changes Biden is seeking.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act both accomplish many changes that would appease Democrats and represent major changes from current laws.

In recent years, elections have been conducted in the way that local and state leaders want them to happen and not necessarily the federal government.

That has led to vast differences in voting laws from state to state.

For instance, 26 states have no-excuse absentee voting. In the other states, people need an excuse to vote early or by mail.

The president is choosing Georgia for his speech Tuesday because of new state laws that he views as restrictive.

In the four most-heavily populated counties around Atlanta, there were 94 drop boxes for ballots in the 2020 election.

After recent laws passed, future elections in that region can now only have a maximum of 23 drop boxes.

Republicans who passed the laws say a lower number of boxes helps prevent voter fraud.

CHANGING LAWS

Georgia is hardly alone when it comes to passing new laws.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan group, 19 states passed 33 laws last year that they believe make it harder for Americans to vote.

Biden has a problem though. Currently, he doesn’t have the votes to pass what he wants. That’s because the current rules of the U.S. Senate say voting rights legislation needs 60 votes to break the filibuster.

Biden and other Democrats support changing those rules but currently, they do not have enough votes to do that either.

WHAT CAN PASS

Republicans, in recent days, have signaled interest in reforming The Electoral Count Act, an obscure 1887 law that allows Members of Congress to play a role in disputed elections.

Some on Capitol Hill believe the Jan. 6 attack happened because Congress actually has a role to play when results are questioned by some.

Reform might make that process less confusing and less political, however, Democrats are already saying that idea does not go far enough.