Voting rights advocates say the Georgia’s rapid-fire action — and plans in other Republican-controlled states to pass restrictions of their own — underscores the need for federal legislation to set a national baseline for voting rules.
Stacey Abrams, the founder of Fair Fight Action and a former Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia, said the state’s Republicans showed they were intent on “reviving Georgia’s dark past of racist voting laws.”
“Now, more than ever, Americans must demand federal action to protect voting rights,” she said in a statement.
House Democrats have passed a sweeping bill that includes a number of voting reforms, including automatic national voter registration.
Currently, 18 states and Washington, DC, have automatic registration. Expanding that requirement nationwide could enfranchise 50 million Americans, according to the Brennan Center.
The bill would do a lot more, including putting an end to partisan gerrymandering, by which parties draw congressional lines to protect their incumbents, mandating a two-week early voting period and more.
But it would require a supermajority — at least 60 votes — to overcome a promised GOP filibuster in the Senate. Democrats have suggested changing Senate rules specifically for this bill, but it’s not clear all Democrats would support the rule change.
CNN’s Kelly Mena, Fredreka Schouten, Dianne Gallagher and Pamela Kirkland contributed reporting to this post.