And Thus It Begins

Jan 30, 2021
In The News

There is a bill in Congress now, H.R. 1, that seeks to make voting rules more uniform across the country including same-day registration and early voting. It would also establish independent commissions to draw Congressional district lines for the disclosure of high-dollar donors to political groups and obligate presidents to disclose their tax returns. The bill was originally introduced two years ago to fierce opposition by congressional Republicans.... Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Maryland, said “People just want to be able to cast their vote without it being an ordeal. It’s crazy in America that you still have to navigate an obstacle course to get to the ballot box.” It’s hard to see how having uniform voting rules across the country would help only the Democratic Party but this is one area in which the Republicans would certainly NOT want to see change. Republicans have managed over the years to set up Congressional districts that favor them over Democrats. Reapportionment is their golden goose — it makes it possible for Republicans to control more seats than would seem natural, i.e., there can be many more Democratic votes than Republican votes but there are more Republicans elected because of the district boundaries. That’s part of the reason Michigan voters agreed to set up an independent commission to establish districts in Michigan, and the commission gets to do its thing after the census is established sometime this year. It isn’t to say that Democrats didn’t fiddle with the districts when they had the chance, they did. But if you look around the country today it’s the Republican Party that is the main culprit in using reapportionment to keep their members in office. I’m not seeing any move to change election rules in Michigan, probably because reapportionment and same-day registration and no-excuse absentee voting are already on the books. Michigan has never had early voting and probably never will, but the system should still allow local election officials to start at least opening AV ballots before election day. It should really come down to this: Does a law make it easier to vote, or more difficult to vote. If voting is a sacred right of our country if the law makes voting more difficult, change the law. If it is easier, congratulations on enabling more citizens to vote for their favorite candidate.