During the 2020 election, the strength of American democracy was put to the test several times. While democracy ultimately prevailed, many Republicans in Congress failed to support it.
The Republican Accountability Project, an anti-Trump conservative group, released a report this week analyzing how GOP members acted during crucial moments as the election results were being certified. More than half the Republicans in Congress received failing grades for their actions.
This report highlights the current divide in the Republican Party between those who still support former President Donald Trump and those who do not.
The report evaluated all 50 Republican senators and 211 GOP House members (excluding Rep. Julia Letlow of Louisiana because she was not in office at the time) based on four criteria:
- Did they sign on to the amicus brief filed in support of Texas' lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to nullify votes cast in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia?
- Did they object to the certification of Electoral College votes from at least one state?
- Did they make public statements that cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 election?
- Did they vote to hold Trump accountable via impeachment or conviction?
Only 16 Republicans (seven senators and nine House members) received an A, which the report described as "excellent."
Thirteen House members received a B, or an "okay" grade. No senators earned a B.
Fifty-eight Republicans (30 senators and 28 House members) received a C for "mediocre." This group includes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who is ranking member of the Rules and Administration Committee. Both have been instrumental in blocking democracy reform legislation from advancing in the Senate.Thirty-eight Republicans (five senators and 33 House members) received a D for "poor."
While just eight senators were given an F for "very poor," 60 percent of the House GOP (128 members) received a failing grade.
"Our Capitol was attacked by a mob that believed that the 2020 election was being stolen. They were encouraged by the lies and actions of President Trump and many Republican members of Congress," the report says. "In the name of accountability, it's vitally important we remember which Congressional Republicans stood with democracy and the Constitution, and which did not."
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Three in five Americans believe it's more important to ensure that all voters get to vote than it is to make sure nobody who's ineligible casts a ballot, a new poll finds, although there's an enormous partisan split on those priorities.
The same survey, however, revealed a solidly bipartisan degree of confidence among three-quarters of Americans that elections in their own states are being run fairly and securely.
The results, out Tuesday from NBC News, are the latest evidence of the complex and sometimes polarized views the electorate holds about the bedrock institution of democracy.
While 87 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of independents say "making sure that everyone who wants to vote can do so" is a top priority, 77 percent of Republicans say "making sure that no one votes who is not eligible to vote" is more important.
That fundamental disagreement, of course, reflects the continued partisan divide over the integrity of the 2020 election, fueled by the unprecedented and unfounded allegations by Donald Trump that his second term as president was stolen by fraud. His false allegations have fueled the drive by Republican legislators around the country to enact stricter voting laws that Democrats see as designed to suppress the vote — particularly targeting people of color.
As those bills keep advancing, though, 59 percent of Republicans — along with 85 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of independents — say they are confident their states can already administer elections where everyone eligible may cast a ballot and the results are tabulated accurately.
But the poll did reveal a sharp GOP split based on where people live. In states Trump carried, 76 percent of Republicans view their own elections as free and fair. In states carried by President Biden, that same number plunged to 39 percent.
The poll was conducted by telephone April 17-20 and has a 3.1 percentage point margin of error.
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Organizer: The People
This year will mark our 3rd annual (Virtual) National Assembly of The People, and we are excited to bring people from all over the country and political spectrum together to find common ground around our theme of Seeking Effective Elections.
When you think of what it means to have effective elections, what does that look like to you? Is it access? Transparency? Security? Who makes the ballot? The influence of money? Ensuring the effectiveness of our elections is a top priority no matter your perspective, and we believe this is a crucial place for finding that common ground.
The event will not only provide the opportunity for some meaningful conversations and bridge-building, but also to hear from those actively involved in reform, and we will take it one step further with the collective creation of action steps forward towards real system reform.
Much of the efforts to change the way states conduct elections, in the wake of last year's pandemic-era voting, are being done in favor of one major party or the other. Democrats are pushing voting expansions, while Republicans are backing restrictions.
But election reform advocates say it doesn't have to be this way. The Bipartisan Policy Center released a report this week in the hopes of cutting through the partisan noise. The new report details a dozen bipartisan recommendations for improving the voting process moving forward.
While election security experts have repeatedly confirmed that the 2020 election was the most secure in American history, the report says there are still many ways to streamline the voting process, bolster voter confidence and increase election security.
Because many of the changes implemented for the 2020 election were done quickly and at the last minute, a number of these recommendations emphasize the timing of passing and implementing new election rules. The policy proposals also underscore the importance of communicating any changes to voters.
"Some changes to the process are necessary and inevitable, but policymakers have fallen into a dangerous and unrelenting cycle of regaining interest in election administration only in the lead-up to major elections," the report says.
Here are the 12 policy recommendations curated by BPC's task force of 28 state and local election officials:
- "States should plan to enact legislative or administrative changes to standing election procedures outside the 90-day window before a general election."
- "Challenges to standing election procedures within 90 days of an election should be considered by courts only for future elections."
- "Courts should consider challenges to the merits of election administration changes in an election year on an expedited basis."
- "No later than 60 days before an election, counties and states should produce and publicly display detailed observation procedures for the voting process, ballot reconciliation and canvass, recounts, and audits."
- "States should create emergency election procedures that include contingencies for weather, terrorism, or other disasters."
- "States should require local election offices to develop emergency election procedures and submit them to the state for review and coordination."
- "States should mandate voting systems that produce voter-verifiable paper ballots. The voter-verifiable ballot should be the ballot of record for any audit or recount."
- "States should standardize and simplify ballot return deadlines. Local and state officials should conduct vigorous voter communication efforts to educate voters about return deadlines."
- "States should expand the options for the return of vote-by-mail ballots to include secure drop boxes."
- "Voters should have the option of voting early and in-person for a period of at least seven days in advance of a federal election. States should provide a balance of early, mail, and Election Day voting options that are informed by voter behavior."
- "States should codify a detailed certification timeline that includes all fundamental requirements and deadlines while thoughtfully balancing the amount of time devoted to state versus local responsibilities. County certification deadlines should be set no earlier than 14 days after a general election to provide time to complete precertification tasks."
- "Threats against election officials and all permanent and temporary elections staff should be taken seriously by policymakers and law enforcement. These offenses should be punishable by penalties equivalent to those assessed for threats against other public employees carrying out their official duties."
While these recommendations are not the only bipartisan solutions out there, BPC's report says they would be good starting points for bolstering the election ecosystem. The report urges state lawmakers to work across the aisle to implement changes that would fortify election security and improve the voting process, without overburdening local election administrators.
"The election process transcends politics and demands reforms that are in the best interest of all Americans, regardless of party," the report says.
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