Posted by 25 June 2019
With 50 states comes 50 different procedures for voting. Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to see this end – at least for federal elections. This week she unveiled a proposal that would mandate a number of procedures that states must follow for federal races. She’s hoping this will appeal to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party that has been vocal about voting rights.
Sen. Warren’s plan has a number of new mandates on states, including:
- Automatic voter registration (with individuals being able to opt out)
- Same-day voter registration
- Prohibiting the removal of people from the voting rolls unless states have objective evidence of a reason to remove them
- Fifteen days of early voting
- Voting by mail
- A uniform federal ballot
The proposal would also prohibit gerrymandering for political reasons, requiring states to use independent commissions to draw congressional district lines. Election Day would be a federal holiday.
These requirements would only be mandatory for federal elections. However, since many races for state and local office also occur at the same time as federal elections, it is likely that states would use the same procedures for these non-federal races. In effect, Sen. Warren’s proposal would impose uniform federal rules for elections nationwide.
Supporters of these ideas argue that they are necessary to prevent states from enacting voting rules that reduce turnout for minority voters or voters from certain political parties. They say that the U.S. should not have a patchwork of rules for voting. Opponents counter that this is another federal power grab from states that have always had the power to set election rules to meet local concerns.
Sen. Warren’s proposal is unlikely to see any legislative action in the Republican-controlled Senate. However, she will use it as part of her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Do you think that the federal government should mandate uniform federal rules for elections? Should states implement automatic voter registration and same-day registration?