U.S. senators come to Georgia for hearing on voting rights
ATLANTA - Senate Democrats have taken their case for a federal voting bill on the road. At a field hearing in Georgia on Monday, they argued that their sweeping elections measure is desperately needed to counter the impact of new Republican state laws that tighten voting rules.
Led by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the Senate Rules Committee hearing was the panel’s first field hearing in 20 years.
U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock says, “We have no time to spare.”
Democrats used the hearing in Atlanta to gain attention for their voting and elections overhaul, which remains blocked by unified Republican opposition and disagreement among Senate Democrats about whether to change procedural rules in the evenly divided Senate to get it passed.
Klobuchar, D-Minn., says congressional Democrats are exploring ways to include financial incentives for states to expand voting access as part of a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure bill.
She said the priority continues to be passing the legislation known as the For the People Act, which would usher in minimum voting standards in the U.S. such as automatic and same-day voter registration, early voting and no-excuse absentee voting.
But Klobuchar noted that Democrats could also use the process known as reconciliation to advance financial incentives in the infrastructure deal for states to adopt certain reforms.
Bishop Reginald T. Jackson of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia submitted testimony for the committee.
“We will not let the values of the majority of Georgia voters be ruled or contained by a minority of extremists who are more interested in serving Donald Trump rather than the clear majority of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents across the State,” an excerpt of his testimony said.
“Most of all, for this Committee, we will not let the root of this hearing go unnoticed or ignored,” Jackson said, among other things.
Right now, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is stalled in the Senate, but Democratic senators say they will keep pushing until they get election reform.
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