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The great electoral reform promoted by the party of the president of the United States, Joe Biden, ran into the unanimous blockade of the senators of the Republican Party on Tuesday, who did not even agree to debate the initiative during a key vote. The score was tied with 50 Democrats in favor and 50 Republicans against; so that the project did not exceed the barrier of 60 supports that it needed to be considered in the Chamber of the Upper House.
The legislation, baptized For the People Act (The Law for the People), aspired to be the largest electoral reform since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed discriminatory practices against African Americans and is considered a landmark of the civil rights movement.
After the vote, visibly frustrated, the Senate Democratic Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, accused Republicans of having made voting suppression part of their political identity and promised that he will continue to fight to protect that right. “I want to be very clear on one thing: the fight to protect the right to vote is not over. No way! ”He cried.
The electoral reform sought to counteract voting restrictions recently imposed by Republicans at the state level, with the approval of 14 laws that limit the suffrage of Hispanic and African-American minorities, less inclined to go to the polls.
Conservatives say their goal is to curb irregularities, but Democrats believe their real goal is to end the controls that prevented former President Donald Trump from revoking the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Biden won. “Are we going to let the most dishonest former president in our history continue to poison our democracy from within?” Schumer asked, referring to Trump.
Filibusterism, the best republican weapon
To block the legislation, Republicans used a maneuver known as filibuster (filibuster in English) and that traditionally consisted of speaking and speaking for hours, days, and in some cases even weeks, in the Senate hemicycle to prevent a matter from being voted on.
However, now it is not necessary for a senator to speak for hours and, as happened on Tuesday, a legislation could collapse if the majority party does not obtain 60 votes.
Before the vote, the leader of the Republican minority, Mitch McConnell, already announced that he would use this ruse to block the initiative. He also considered that the legislation involves interference by the federal government in the affairs of the states and, without providing any evidence, accused the Democrats of manipulating the electoral rules in their favor.
“We are facing a clearly partisan plan to tilt every election in the United States permanently in favor of the Democrats,” McConnell attacked.
Bitter taste for Democrats
Meanwhile, the vote left a sour taste among Democrats. On the one hand, after weeks of internal tensions, they managed to join ranks and convince the most conservative senator in their party, Joe Manchin, to vote in favor of the proposal, something he eventually did.
But, on the other hand, the Republican blockade supposes the failure of one of the priorities of Biden and of US Vice President Kamala Harris, who formally also acts as president of the Senate and who this Tuesday presided over the voting and the previous debate.
Our democracy is stronger when everyone participates—and it is weaker when people are denied meaningful access to participation. Today, as Senate Democrats united around the For The People Act, Senate Republicans voted against advancing it. My Statement: https://t.co/BmEqoGow0s— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) June 23, 2021
Harris did not comment on the loss in the floor, but later in a statement promised that she and Biden will continue to fight to protect the right to vote. “The president and I are not intimidated, and I know the American people are not intimidated either. Like previous generations, we will not give up, we will not give up and we will continue the fight to strengthen the right to vote, ”said Harris, the first African-American to hold the Vice Presidency.
The battle over the right to vote occurs because, in the US, each state sets its own rules. During the pandemic, many territories relaxed the requirements to vote by mail or early, sparking a record turnout and fueling conspiracy theories between Trump and his supporters about alleged massive fraud at the polls.
Since then, 14 states have passed laws restricting the right to vote, according to the nonpartisan States United Democracy Center. The law that failed this Tuesday sought to establish the same rules for all states, in addition to limiting the influence of money on politics and the manipulation of electoral districts.
Source: by www.huffingtonpost.es.
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