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Democrat Abrams urges lifting filibuster for U.S. election reform bill

PoliticsMar 14, 2021 12:46PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Control of U.S. Senate hangs in the balance as Georgia begins counting ballots 2/2

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Stacey Abrams, an influential figure in Democratic circles, called on Sunday for the U.S. Senate to exempt election reform legislation passed by the House of Representatives over Republican opposition from a procedural hurdle called the filibuster.

"Protection of democracy is so fundamental that it should be exempt from the filibuster rules," Abrams, a former senior state legislator and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in Georgia who helped Democrats win two U.S. Senate runoff elections in her home state in January, told CNN's "State of the Union" program.

The Democratic-led House on March 3 passed a bill intended to reform voting procedures, increase voter participation and require states to assign independent commissions the task of redrawing congressional districts to guard against partisan manipulation.

There is a debate among Democrats, who narrowly control the Senate thanks to the two Georgia victories, on whether to modify or even eliminate the filibuster, a longstanding fixture that makes it so most legislation cannot advance without 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate rather than a simple majority.

The filibuster already has been scaled back and does not apply to judicial or Cabinet appointments and some budgetary measures, Abrams noted, so it should be suspended for the voting rights legislation. Abrams, a former minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, has emerged as a leading Democratic voice on voting rights.

Democratic President Joe Biden has said he would sign the election legislation into law if it is passed by Congress, but also has indicated opposition to completely eliminating the filibuster.

The House-passed bill faces long odds in the Senate under current rules, where all 48 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them would need to be joined by 10 of the 50 Republican senators to overcome a filibuster.

Democrats have argued that the legislation is necessary to lower barriers to voting and to make the U.S. political system more democratic and responsive to the needs of voters. Republicans have said it would take powers away from the states, and have promised to fight it if it becomes law.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott noted that he repeatedly sued Democratic former President Barack Obama's administration over various policies when he was the Texas attorney general. Abbott said would not hesitate now to file a legal challenge against the election measure if it is passed and Biden signs it.

"The strongest tool that we have is the litigation tool," Abbott said on the Fox News "Sunday Morning Futures" program.

Speaking on the same program, U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas added: "We'll fight this in the Senate and we'll fight this in the courts, if necessary."

There was record turnout in the 2020 election, helped by mail-in ballots heavily used by Democratic voters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democrats have accused Republicans at the state level of pursuing voter suppression laws for partisan advantage. Former President Donald Trump made false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him though widespread voting fraud and irregularities. Since then, Republicans have introduced measures in numerous state legislatures that would limit voting access.

A bill passed by the Republican-controlled Georgia House this month, for example, would restrict ballot drop boxes, tighten absentee voting requirements and limit early voting on Sundays, curtailing traditional "Souls to the Polls" voter turnout programs in Black churches.

Democrat Abrams urges lifting filibuster for U.S. election reform bill
 

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Comments (18)
Jeffrey Vose
Jeffrey Vose Mar 14, 2021 6:55PM ET
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...if diabetes was a person...
John Klan
John Klan Mar 14, 2021 5:43PM ET
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She's totally inane. A huge bag of hot air.
David Heiser
David Heiser Mar 14, 2021 5:24PM ET
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Terrible writing. Partisan hack.
Kenneth nelson
grasshopper Mar 14, 2021 4:16PM ET
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She needs to lose some pounds
Aleksandr Rogovoy
Aleksandr Rogovoy Mar 14, 2021 4:16PM ET
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some? xa-xa
Notvery Goodathis
Peteymcletey Mar 14, 2021 4:10PM ET
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doesn't she push crazy conspiracies about widespread election fraud?
John Ehrensberger
John Ehrensberger Mar 14, 2021 4:03PM ET
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That dude is always trying to fix elections
Notvery Goodathis
Peteymcletey Mar 14, 2021 3:55PM ET
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this 1.9T reconciliation bill makes a stronger case to keep it
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Mar 14, 2021 2:29PM ET
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Stacy Abrams is a cow, needs to stop helping Dems cheat in elections for George Soros
Kenneth nelson
grasshopper Mar 14, 2021 2:29PM ET
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Pig 🐽
David Stocks
David Stocks Mar 14, 2021 1:13PM ET
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us elections will come down to the party that cheats better will win
David Stocks
David Stocks Mar 14, 2021 1:09PM ET
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do dogs have the right to vote too? how should we validate that the dogs vote can we look at the dog tag?
Adrian White
Adrian White Mar 14, 2021 1:09PM ET
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According to Trump, they already vote regardless of any rights.
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Mar 14, 2021 1:09PM ET
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WeezieAbrams was bragging about the mail in ballots last runoff Senate races. They are pring ballots again
Greg Horton
Greg Horton Mar 14, 2021 12:59PM ET
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a big fat slob a biden flunky
Daniel Nova
Daniel Nova Mar 14, 2021 12:43PM ET
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Democrats want to take away any resemblance of voter ID for elections. If this happens, voter identity fraud will be much more likely to happen.
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Mar 14, 2021 12:43PM ET
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SCOTUS refused to stop them or review one incident of many. Democrats will never need to campaign again, just do Multiple mail in ballots and rerun them through voting machine.
Red Riley
Red Riley Mar 14, 2021 12:28PM ET
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filibuster her
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Mar 14, 2021 12:24PM ET
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Why is there early voting on Sunday? Why is there early voting at all?
Chris Maz
ChristoM Mar 14, 2021 12:21PM ET
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DemocRAT doublespeak ... translated this means we must protect democracy by removing parts of the democratic processes.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Mar 14, 2021 12:14PM ET
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Is she still the imaginary governor of Georgia?
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Mar 14, 2021 12:03PM ET
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What does this c/ra/p have anything to do with investing? Stop pushing political # brainwash to us
Shane Gg
Shane Gg Mar 14, 2021 12:03PM ET
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A lot. Economies suffer when Ds hold power. Imagine if they hold power indefinitely. You would be better off investing in survival goods instead of the stock market.
Adrian White
Adrian White Mar 14, 2021 12:03PM ET
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Shane, you have that backwards.Go and look it up. The economy has ended down under the last several Republican Administrations and risen under Democrat Administrations.
Adrian White
Adrian White Mar 14, 2021 12:03PM ET
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Kaveh Sun, instead of whining and complaining, just choose the articles read or don't read. You obviously haven't noticed that both the app and website filter articles by category. Focus on the category you want instead of just reading 'Latest News' or 'Most Popular' which contain all categories. Go to 'Economy' or 'Stock Market' and avoid 'Politics'. Problem solved.
 
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