Andrea Germanos Rights Voting

Civil Rights Groups Reject Electoral Count Act as a ‘Charade’

Sign with the word "VOTE" and an American flag on it.
(Tom Arthur / Flickr)(CC-BY-SA 2.0)

By Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

Amid continued GOP obstruction of Democrats’ voting rights legislation, a coalition of civil rights groups on Monday issued a joint statement pushing back against a bipartisan plan to reform the Electoral Count Act, calling the proposal woefully insufficient to address nationwide voter suppression efforts.

The core of the issue, the groups said, is that the plan to tweak the law, while offering some “important and needed protections to ensure the integrity of the presidential election of 2024,” simply “does not address the ongoing pernicious and pervasive racial discrimination in voting nor does it make voting more accessible.”

Issued by organizations including the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the NAACP, the statement calls pursuit of the bipartisan plan alone—without passage of the more sweeping John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act—”offensive to voters, especially voters of color, and the generations who bled and died for the franchise since our nation’s founding.”

“Bipartisanship for bipartisanship’s sake does nothing for a citizen whose right to vote has been compromised by partisan extremists in states,” they continued. “Worse, some might view this effort as a cynical attempt to fool the American people into believing meaningful action has been taken on voting rights when none has been taken. We won’t participate in that charade.”

“Compromise is a worthy goal, but any compromise on voting rights must center on tearing down barriers to the ballot for Black people and other people of color, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, people with disabilities, senior citizens, veterans, new Americans, and young people,” the groups stated, and warned the nation’s “democracy remains on the line.”

The statement further calls on Congress to “include the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and key provisions of the Freedom to Vote Act in any legislation that is considered to safeguard our democracy.”

Earlier this month, the plan to enact reforms to the Electoral Count Act also elicited concerns from progressives, especially as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed openness to the proposal and since the bipartisan group of senators involved in the effort includes Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who joined with Republicans to block the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.

As Politico reported last week:

While tackling the outdated Electoral Count Act is popular among scholars after Republicans challenged the election results last year and a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, both parties have used the arcane text to force votes on election certifications. The upper-chamber negotiators are now aiming to make it harder for senators to object to those certifications, and to clarify that the vice president cannot unilaterally overturn the election…

Before the group developed, most Democrats had dismissed the more narrow electoral discussions that took off in recent weeks, trying to downplay them as a politically motivated off-ramp for Republicans to avoid blame ahead of the failed vote on a Senate rules change.

In a letter to senators earlier this month, the advocacy group Common Cause said that looking at changes to the Electoral Count Act and legislative proposals to tackle voter suppression as an either-or scenario represents “a false choice.”

“Reforms to how the score is counted will not unrig the rules that are stacked against voters and their participation,” the group said.

In a statement, Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn expressed concern that “voting rights in states across the country are under siege as legislators write and pass a new generation of Jim Crow laws to determine who can and cannot vote.”

“The Electoral Count Act does in fact need fixing,” she said, “but first the Senate must pass legislation to protect the voting rights of every American—particularly Black and Brown Americans targeted by the wave of 21st Century Jim Crow laws being passed in the states.”

6 comments

  1. more reactionary promotion of corruption and stupidity—dimocracy is every greedy child deciding that candy is nutritious…all civilized nations require voter ID, none permit voting by mail except for citizens that reside in other nations

  2. One person, one vote. Sounds simple enough, yet we still have this outdated, marginalizing Electoral College to contend with and it appears to not be going anywhere anytime soon.

    Although my vote means almost nothing here in AL, I still vote just to make sure I haven’t been kicked off the rolls. The one time it did matter was when I helped Doug Jones get elected over that creep Roy Moore. Now we have a grifter former football coach from out-of-state in his place but I will continue to vote.

    1. @JustAMaverick
      As I see it the fundamental problem regarding voting & elections is as follows: The large majority of people have neither the desire nor the ability to make proper decisions about running society, NOR SHOULD THEY HAVE TO DO SO. There would be nothing wrong with having unelected leaders IF those leaders were smart, wise, and made decisions that benefit their constituents, the planet, and all life on Earth, instead of making decisions that make them more money & power and boost their already inflated egos. For example, the kings in ancient Egypt were kings because they understood how the Nile River flooded & receded, and how they could plant crops to take advantage of that.

      As with all other human problems, this comes down to people being unevolved mentally & spiritually. In an unevolved group of people there are no good leaders to choose. Our leaders need to be the most mentally and spiritually evolved, not those who are more aggressive, who were born into leadership, or who are best at tricking people into voting for them. HOW they become leaders is totally secondary to that.

      The conundrum of course is that in this society, without elections the most aggressive a-holes (aka the rich & powerful) will take over everything. Of course we’re not far from that now, but without the threat of elections it would be even worse. So without humans evolving mentally & spiritually, there is no good solution to these problems. And that’s in an overpopulated/civilized society. If people lived in naturally small numbers, these problems wouldn’t even exist.

  3. Voter suppression, especially of people of color and poorer people, is definitely a problem. But a much bigger problem is that there is no real difference between the candidates on most major issues. You can’t vote against war or Wall Street, because all the candidates are beholden to them in one way or another.

    What we should focus on is getting proportional representation and eliminating the buying of elections with private campaign contributions. Until those two fundamental problems are fixed, the rest is just trying to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic.

  4. Hoping this site will post an informative article on the voter suppression / gerrymandering / “redistricting” in Alabama that is a-o.k. with a majority on the Supreme Court for now.

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