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Our staff in its heyday, at a holiday axe-throwing party in 2019. From left: reporter Geoff West, senior director of marketing Jessica Puchala, senior writer Bill Theobald, reporter Sara Swann, publisher David Meyers, the author and audience development editor Tristiaña Hinton.

What I learned covering the democracy reform movement's evolution

Hawkings is the founding editor-in-chief of The Fulcrum and has been a Washington correspondent and editor for 32 years.
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Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden board Air Force One for a flight to Georgia on Thursday.

Biden uses Georgia trip to keep pressing Congress on democracy reform bills

President Biden is spending Thursday in Georgia, the symbolic center of the voting rights debate, hours after making an impassioned call for reforming and sustaining democracy the finale for his first address to Congress.

The main reason for the trip is to pitch his ambitious $4 trillion plans to refashion the economy, rebuild its physical underpinnings and expand the government's social services system. But he's also visiting Jimmy Carter, who won the presidency on a promise to revive democratic norms after Watergate, and holding a rally in a place that's long been central to the voting rights fight.

"We have to prove democracy still works," Biden said at the wrapped up his nationally televised speech Wednesday night. He urged quick passage of the sweeping remake of federal election, campaign finance and government ethics rules known as HR 1 along with separate legislation to revive federal oversight in places with histories of voter suppression.

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"Although Kansans have cast millions of ballots over the last decade, there remains no evidence of significant voter fraud," said Gov. Laura Kelly.

GOP crusade to curb voting runs into blockade in ruby red Kansas

The sprawling Republican effort to make voting more difficult has been derailed for the first time by a Democratic governor.

Laura Kelly of Kansas has vetoed two bills, one curbing the number of ballots third parties may collect and deliver and the other giving the Legislature total control over election rules. Both were drafted in response to developments in other states last year — decisions by courts and governors to ease access to the ballot during the pandemic, and Donald Trump's baseless claims that widespread fraud had robbed him of a second presidential term.

The measures now return to the capital, where both have more than enough support for a veto override in the Senate but appear to be a handful of votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority in the House. Kansas' 2021 legislative session lasts three more weeks.

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