What You Need To Know:
Senate Democrats left Capitol Hill Monday and headed to Georgia to continue their fight for voting rights. The lawmakers convened a rare hearing in Atlanta to oppose the state’s new more restrictive voting measure that was signed into law this spring by Republican Governor Brian Kemp. The law, Democrats say, will disenfranchise Black and young voters and give more power to Republicans in the state.
“There is much talk about not being able to give food and water to voters on line, but the actual law is much more abhorrent than that,” said Representative Billy Mitchell, the chairman of the Georgia House Democratic caucus. “What I am most concerned about — and hope you come up with a solution for — is cheating umpires that these laws are creating.”
The hearing held at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights was the first time in two decades the Rules Committee has convened outside the Capitol. Led by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, the purpose of the hearing was to take the debate into states that have recently pushed or passed legislation making it more difficult for millions to vote. Klobuchar said additional field hearings will follow.
Among those who testified was Helen Butler, the executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda and a former county election official. Butler told senators that she and another Black official had been removed from the county elections board this month after the new law gave Republicans the power to appoint its members.
Republicans on the Rules Committee did not attend the hearing.
“This silly stunt is based on the same lie as all the Democrats’ phony hysteria from Georgia to Texas to Washington, D.C., and beyond — their efforts to pretend that moderate, mainstream state voting laws with more generous early voting provisions than blue states like New York are some kind of evil assault on our democracy,” Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, said in a statement.
Why We Need To Know:
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the passage of federal voting rights legislation remains stalled after the For the People Act failed in the Senate last month in the face of unified Republican and some Democratic opposition.
Now as the clock ticks on possibly one of the most important pieces of legislation of our lifetime, Democrats on the hill are trying to reset. But their success remains unclear as debate over eliminating the Senate’s filibuster rule continues.