Voting laws are a boiling-over issue for America in the current times! Republicans are in control in many states they think the 2020 elections were an affront to fair elections and so they are changing voting laws at the state level and much of what they are doing is unfair and will disenfranchise people; the Democrats response is to ideally try to enact Federal legislation which is super-broad and will largely nationalize election regulations. The Democrats extensive reach on this issue is giving many reasonable people pause and so many Democrat voices are saying let us do the bare minimum here on this issue and at least reinstate the Voting Rights Act (of 1965) [hereinafter called the VRA]. These VRA zealots are like it is incomprehensible that the Democrats hold the House, the Senate and the White House and we cannot even pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (the title of VRA reinstatement legislation) [hereinafter called the John Lewis Act]. These supporters act like the John Lewis Act is like the tablets of the Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai where he received them from God; John Lewis as a human being was an extraordinary and extremely admirable good one but the bill with his name doesn't hold those qualities at all as bill! The John Lewis Act addresses a complicated but an important topic for the nation!
The American people need to understand what the 1965 VRA is back in the mid1960's America was in a bad place on race after the Civil War in 1870 America ratified the 15th Amendment which essentially said that the government cannot curtail a person's right to vote based on that person's race or color and that Congress was empowered to pass laws protecting this right. However, many southern states were not having this constitutional right for blacks, they would pass a law obstructing this right for black Americans and black Americans would successfully challenge the law in court then the state would pass another law obstructing this right in a different way and black Americans would go to court and win and the state would pursue the obstruction in another way and the cycle would continue it was a real whack-a-mole situation. In 1965 Congress said we have had it with you states and Congress passed the VRA; what the law did was it created a formula for identifying those states that were not complying with the fifteenth Amendment and said you states have to get pre-approval for any voting law or regulation before you implement such you have to get approval by a panel of District Court Judges or the Attorney General of the United States has to sign off on it. The formula the VRA used was that it mandated that as of the year 1964 if a state or political subdivision (a county) had a test a person had to pass in order to be able to vote (like a literacy test, a good character test, etc.) and that state had a voter registration rate below fifty percent or an actual voting rate less that fifty percent in the last election that state or political subdivision was in the net, meaning they had to get preapproval. The initial 1965 law had a time frame of five years, in 1970 the law was renewed for five years and the formula was expanded to capture political subdivisions that had one of these tests as of 1968 and in 1975 the law was renewed for seven years and the formula was expanded to the year 1972 and there were other renewals extending the law up to the present day with no change in the formula.
The law was effective, the VRA did its job it stopped large scale racial discrimination in voting in these states with a history of this type of discrimination. The formula in the VRA captured "nine" states requiring these states or political subdivisions in these states to get pre-approval for their new voting regulation. In 2013, a case with the name of Shelby County Alabama vs. Attorney General Holder was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court where Shelby County argued this formula in the VRA was unconstitutional and the Supreme Court agreed with Shelby County and ruled it was unconstitutional because it was not reasonable in the current times, the formula had standards that were forty years old, the voting tests were outlawed decades prior and the registration and voting statistics in the affected political subdivisions is now on par with non-affected political subdivisions. So now the VRA preapproval regiment is dead, it applies to no political subdivision across the nation. One very key problem that many supporters of the VRA didn't and don't seem to fully appreciate is that for the states caught up in the pre-approval net the pre-approval process is a hellish gauntlet, it is a very subjective and a very onerous process. Essentially what a state has to get for a pre-approval is it has to get a declaratory judgment from the District Court and in order to get a declaratory judgment all the conditions in 52 USC Sec.10303 (2) thru (5) and 52 USC sec. 10304 (a) and (b) have to be met.
Granted today America still has a significant problem with discrimination in voting since the Shelby case has come down many black communities in the prior regulated states have had an undue number of polling places shut down in their communities and this is wrong and needs to be corrected. Prudence seems to call for the Congress to scrap reinstating the VRA with its subjective and onerous standards and develop objective tests to weed out and block racial discrimination in voting, in the new Federal law apply the new Federal standards to all states not just the states with historic discrimination. Congress could make objective tests to insure black communities essentially have the same number of polling places as white communities. In the media the public here the shocking statistic that in at least one minority community with a population of a million people there is only one drop off box for mail-in ballots mandated, this is obviously an abridgement of the right to vote for minorities in that community; why doesn't Congress mandate one drop off box for every one hundred thousand people in a community! I am not a constitutional lawyer but I bet if Democrats talk to a lot of good ones they will find a sizable portion that will render the opinion that the John Lewis Act or any framework like the 1965 VRA will never pass Constitutional muster in a conservative Supreme Court like America has today so Congress will just be spinning its wheels spending time and capital trying to pass this bill that will ultimately be found not constitutional! A conservative Court holds dear the concept of Federalism that is powers not expressly given to the Federal Government belong to the States and the principle that states should be treated equally; Congress just does not have the facts of the 1960s to win on this issue. The Supreme Court has described the time of the 1960's as a time where there was a "blight of racial discrimination in voting" on the nation which justified Congress' extraordinary action; today it is a different kind of enemy against America there is not a blight of suppression of black votes, but rather a blight of suppression of every color in the crayon box votes - Republicans only want the open paths to be for their faithful to vote!
There is other flaws in the John Lewis Act that provide reason against passing the bill. For those states and political subdivisions that are caught up in the net and have to get pre-approval the bill in its "Section Five" essentially requires the redrawing of electoral districts has to be pre approved; America takes a census every ten years which necessitates the redrawing of electoral districts so these subdivisions will have to go through the pre-approval process for their minority districts at this redrawing - America would see such a law change stick these political subdivisions with old electoral maps during elections because the pre-approval process was not completed in time. Section Five requires relocating polling locations to be pre-approved anyone that is older and follows voting issues to a fair degree knows that entities that offer their location as a polling location often have a problem and have to drop out of this activity so election authorities are going to have to go through the onerous task of getting new locations pre-approved this is just adding bureaucratic red tape to America's voting system! Section Five also gives any aggrieved citizen the right to sue under this law to compel a political subdivision's compliance to the law, this is too broad this will create a huge and undue burden on the District Court trying to respond to such lawsuits.
There is a Mt. Everest size polarization between the parties in America on what they think is acceptable in regards to voting! The problem calls for a Federal law to create some national standards but the law doesn't have to be super expansive; if the American people want to do what is good they at least need to come to some basic consensus, such would be the following. Universal mail-in-ballots is wrong it is an egregious transgression against two principles; one, fraud is wrong and two, that having a democracy means people in that democracy are free to vote their conscience. Not only should Universal mail-in-ballot be outlawed but the national law should restrict mail-in-ballot to absentee voters, voters that have health issues that make it problematic or impossible to go to a polling place and elderly seniors, 72 years of age or older that society will extend an understanding to them that they don't have to allege specific health problems that if they decide it is too difficult to come to a polling place to vote they can get a mail-in-ballot. There is an important concept everyone should get with mail-in-ballots which mandates maximal restraint with their use which is that ballot "harvesting" will take place with mail-in-ballots which cannot be stopped, the Almighty God could not stop it, the best a good country can hope for is to minimize this harm which is accomplished by reducing the number of outstanding mail-in-ballots. This whole voting issue deals with electing politicians whose expertise is "people" politicians will expectedly get election workers that know individual voters in the neighborhoods of their electoral district and these election workers will harvest mail-in-ballots from individual voters, they know these individuals to the extent these individuals consider them friends and often even like if not in fact family members; the harvesting will go like this the worker will say to their loved one our candidate really needs your help he or she is a really good person will you help us, I just need you to fill out the mail-in-ballot and I will drive to the closest mail box and it all happens under the watchful eye of the ballot harvester. The other reason why society wants to to curtail the use of mail-in-ballots to what is necessary is to limit the effects of fraud people in campaigns and their allies know when county authorities are sending the mail-in-ballots these people can alert their extensive networks who can then take the ballots out of the mail box or individuals mail pile and just fill it out themselves and send it in; it is very difficult to prove fraud because this is all done out of public view.
The other issue the country should come to consensus on is if you want people to have and exercise their right of franchise the best way to accomplish this is to give people plenty of opportunity to vote. This point is directed to Republican Americans to be a Republican used to mean you had a deep conviction for fundamental American principles and the right of franchise is the essence of such principles. The Conservative Talk Radio host Hugh Hewitt maybe around a year ago was pontificating on the subject of voting in America and he hit the solution right on the head he said that America should have early voting starting two weeks before an election in both the primary and general election to avoid the criticism against Republicans that they want to suppress certain Americans votes! The Democrats in their "For The People Act" have reportedly called for this time frame of early voting. Part of the alarm hitting the American people over the national controversy about voting is that people fear being denied the opportunity to vote; mandating an early two-week voting period goes a long way to allaying these fears of people!