Surprisingly harsh critique from liberal election-law expert Ned Foley in his latest Washington Post piece:
H.R. 1 passed the House with zero Republican votes, and the companion S.B. 1 has zero GOP support in the Senate. That’s because it’s a purely partisan bill aimed at helping the Democratic Party win elections, not impartial reform designed to foster fair electoral competition in America’s traditional two-party system.
If Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), keep saying that H.R. 1/S.B. 1, as currently drafted, is essential to secure democracy, they are self-deceived or deceitful. Same-day registration is hardly necessary for the preservation of self-government.
The same goes for no-excuse absentee voting: as long as all eligible voters have adequate in-person opportunities to cast a ballot, and excuse-based absentee voting exists for those who can’t get to the polls — as it did for decades in most states — democracy can survive without on-demand, vote-by-mail for everyone. And reasonable voter ID rules are not voter suppression; in fact, making voters provide a driver’s license or other easily available ID number is a way to avoid imprecise and arbitrary signature-matching requirements that pose a greater risk of disenfranchising valid voters.
Moreover, adopting H.R. 1/S.B. 1 over the objection of every Republican in Congress would be a disaster for democracy, which is still struggling to regain its footing in the aftermath of former president Donald Trump’s “big lie” about the 2020 election being stolen. What’s most imperative for the preservation of democracy in 2022 and 2024 is the willingness of Republicans to accept vote tallies showing that their candidates lost. Achieving this becomes a lot harder if the rules for casting those ballots are forced upon them by a party-line vote — especially when those rules are drawn from the Democratic Party’s wish list of measures that facilitate their own turnout efforts.