Editorial Roundup: Compromise federal voting plan shows promise

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A new proposal by Democratic senators to standardize voting rights and voting access across the country stands as the best plan yet to shore up confidence in the American system of voting.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, chair of the rules committee, is leading the charge, and the plan importantly has the support of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, who had opposed other Democrat-led plans. Manchin is said to be tasked with getting 10 Republican votes in the Senate.

The plan makes Election Day a national holiday, allowing everyone time to go and vote easily without being held back by a busy work schedule. That is one of the biggest positives for improving access to voting.

In a move that caters to conservatives, the plan would also require flexible forms of voter identification documents in order for anyone to vote. While we have often opposed strict photo voter ID laws, the new plan allows various forms of ID just as we do in Minnesota.

The compromise plan would allow same day voter registration in every state and allow a 15-day early voting period. It would also set federal standards for voting by mail and the use of drop boxes.

The legislation would also require that any purging of voting lists of voters who moved or haven’t voted in years would be based on objective and reliable evidence.

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the GOP wouldn’t support the bill, there may be other Republicans outside of McConnell’s increasingly small circle who will.

The federal guardrail legislation is necessary to combat a string of stricter voting laws passed mostly by Republican-controlled states. Many are restricting early voting, polling places and mail in voting rules, and in Georgia providing food or water to people standing in line.

They were prompted by unverified and false claims that somehow the 2020 election tally was wrong.

The 2020 election drew the largest turnout in recent history. Numerous authorities, including Trump Attorney General William Barr, found no evidence of election fraud.

The latest proposal removed some rules on redistricting and a provision requiring presidents to release their tax returns. Those were also compromises aimed at getting GOP support.

We urge the Senate, including GOP senators, to pass the legislation. The Freedom to Vote Act sets the basis for uniform free and fair elections nationwide.

All of the other laws Congress passes, from health care to tax cuts, don’t matter if the right to vote is restricted.

— Mankato Free Press, Sept. 17

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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