On Monday, House Republicans introduced a sweeping voter suppression bill that the party is touting as the “most conservative election bill” considered in the House in decades.
Republicans traveled to Georgia, a major front of the party’s voter suppression campaign, to unveil the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act — a combination of almost 50 standalone bills that would urge states to adopt a slate of provisions that would make it harder for millions of people to vote across the U.S. The provisions echo a number of voting restrictions enacted by Georgia Republicans in 2021.
The bill is the product of years of Republican fear mongering over supposed election “integrity,” a campaign borne from former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 presidential election.
It would ban federal agencies from engaging in voter registration or mobilization, discourage private funding for election administration and implement stricter voter ID requirements — requirements that are often created to disenfranchise Black voters. Under the bill, states would be encouraged to purge voters from voter lists and conduct “audits” of elections, like the disastrous audit in Arizona conducted after the 2020 election.
The ACE Act would encourage what is already one of the most dangerous threats to American democracy: money in elections. The bill would loosen rules regarding political party committees’ expenditures and would raise contribution limits for political party committees, which advocates say would give corporations and the wealthy even more influence over elections via dark money operations.
The bill would also outright enact changes to suppress voters in Washington, D.C., requiring a photo ID to vote in person and by mail and banning same-day voter registration and universal vote by mail, among other restrictions.
The chances of the bill passing into law are extremely slim. But its introduction is a show of the party’s priorities to bring voter suppression efforts that have spread across conservative-controlled states to a federal level ahead of what will likely be a contentious presidential election in 2024.
Just so far this year, state lawmakers have introduced at least 185 voter suppression bills, with at least 15 of these bills passed into law as of last month. Further, since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act ten years ago, states have passed 94 laws restricting voting, according to the Brennan Center.
Voting rights advocates have raised the alarm over the ACE Act, dubbing it the “Big Lie Bill.”
“[T]he benign-sounding name of this legislation cloaks an extremist, anti-voter effort to increase the role of megadonors in our elections and encourage deliberate barriers to make it harder for eligible voters to cast their ballot,” said the Declaration for American Democracy (DFAD), per Common Dreams. DFAD is a pro-democracy coalition of over 260 groups, including watchdogs like Public Citizen and the Brennan Center for Justice, as well as a number of labor unions and progressive groups.
“Congress must reject these efforts to disenfranchise voters and worsen the problem of big money in politics,” the coalition continued.
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