Election reform bill sharply divides Illinois Dems, Republicans – Crain’s Chicago Business

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For instance, Rep. Bill Foster, D-Geneva, characterized the bill in a statement as one that would “safeguard American democracy for future generations.” The statement added, “This legislation would end gerrymandering, protect the right to vote, crack down on corruption, bolster ethics rules and finally end the era of special-interest money in our politics.”

But Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, the ranking Republican on the House panel that reviewed the legislation and a potential candidate for Illinois governor in 2022, said the bill means “fewer freedoms” for Americans and “more money for politicians.” Davis said in a tweet that if the bill clears the Senate and becomes law, “Members of Congress will receive money from the federal government to run their campaigns, Americans’ First Amendment right to free speech will be greatly reduced and election decisions will be taken from state and local officials.”

That’s a lot. So what would the bill do?

Let’s start with voting. It mandates drop boxes, curbside voting, automatic and online registration, Election Day registration and mail balloting, and it requires that each jurisdiction offer at least 15 days of early voting at polls open at least 10 hours a day. Many states did so voluntarily or by law this last cycle, including Illinois, but Republicans say that reduces ballot security.

The measure also would prevent states from removing someone from the rolls because of returned non-forwardable mail seeking to verify a voter’s residence.

Even more controversial is a clause that would require decennial reapportionment—remap—to be done by an independent commission rather than sitting lawmakers. Proposals to do that in Illinois have stalled, blocked by Democratic leaders.

Other provisions: All jurisdictions would have to use paper ballots. Public financing of candidates would be extended from the presidential race to contests for Congress, with the government matching on a 6-1 basis the first $200 contributed by an individual to a candidate. So-called “dark money” groups would lose their anonymity, required to disclose their donors. And various provisions would beef up election systems against hacking and other interference.

The measure also would put Congress on the record as backing “full representation” for the District of Columbia, something that likely would add two Democrats to the Senate. But actually doing so would require passage of a Constitutional amendment.

Notably quiet on this bill has been Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, who’s been challenging his party on some things, but not this. He tweeted nothing, and his office did not respond to a request for comment.

(4:30 p.m. update: Kinzinger released a statement: “This legislation not only endangers the tax-exempt status of many nonprofit organizations, it is also constitutionally flawed, as it opens the door to federal targeting of First Amendment views. The use of a severability clause in nine of the 10 titles in H.R. 1 is an acknowledgement that the constitutionality of these provisions is questionable at best. Restoring faith in the integrity of our electoral process will not be achieved with partisan power grabs.”)

Passage prospects in the Senate are iffy at best, since it now appears 60 votes are required for passage. That means 10 Republicans would have to join Democrats. But that, of course, assumes the Democrats don’t change rules to prevent filibusters, as some progressives want them to do.

Either way, elections are about choices. On this issue, Illinois Democrats and Republicans surely have laid out different visions.

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via “Illinois Politics” – Google News https://ift.tt/2DKMb2N

March 4, 2021 at 06:45PM

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