Democrats plan to move quickly on one of the first bills of the new Congress, citing the need for federal election standards and other reforms to shore up the foundations of American democracy after a tumultuous post-election period and deadly riot at the Capitol.
States have long had disparate and contradictory rules for running elections. But the 2020 election, which featured pandemic-related changes to ease voting and then a flood of lawsuits by former President Donald Trump and his allies, underscored the differences from state to state: Mail-in ballots due on Election Day or just postmarked by then? Absentee voting allowed for all or just voters with an excuse? Same-day or advance-only registration?
Democrats, asserting constitutional authority to set the time, place, and manner of federal elections, want national rules they say would make voting more uniform, accessible, and fair across the nation. The bill would mandate early voting, same-day registration, and other long-sought reforms some critics reject as federal overreach.
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