Over the course of 2021, 19 U.S states passed 34 voter restrictions that are already impacting the electorate.
The County Judge overseeing the office in Harris County Texas tweeted Monday, for example, that she's been forced to deny seven times as many vote-by-mail applications after Texas passed their voter suppression laws.
At the same time, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the new law in Georgia that bans giving food or water to anyone standing in line to vote.
Democrats are scheduled to have a caucus meeting at 5:00 p.m. EST to discuss the voting rights bill that has been named after the late Rep. John Lewis, who fought alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for voting rights and civil rights.
If Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) refuse to support the Lewis voting law and Republicans refuse to allow a vote, Democrats could propose small fixes that could make Republicans look utterly ridiculous if they voted against it.
Here are some ideas:
1. One ballot dropbox per 300,000 people.
This comes from a law that Texas passed making it so only one county could have a dropbox. So, for small counties like Loving County, which has just 169 residents, it isn't a big deal. For Harris County, with just under 5 million residents, it's a problem.
Making a law that makes drop boxes proportionate to population density, rather than just land mass, would upend the GOP's entire strategy.
2. A law that protects any person who gives food or water to any person for any reason
Georgia passed the law that said no one besides authorized officials could bring food or water to a person standing in line to vote. Georgia has a Good Samaritan Law that protects anyone against liability "when they voluntarily go out of their way to selflessly provide assistance or care to another individual who is injured, in danger, or who is otherwise facing a medical or life-threatening emergency."
Congress could simply add to the existing laws to provide that citizens are protected from arrest or prosecution for offering food or water to any person at any time.
3. Free voter ID
One of the biggest battles between Republicans and Democrats is over voter IDs. They argue that an ID is needed for any manner of things but not for voting. Democrats have opposed this because an ID is difficult to obtain for people who don't have cars and instead rely on public transportation.
Democrats could easily cede this argument to Republicans and agree that all states could provide IDs, so long as they provide a useable voter ID for free to anyone who wants one. The ID wouldn't have to qualify as a driver's license or a REAL ID. In fact, most people get a voter card in the mail when they register to vote, which they would simply include with a photo. County officials should be responsible for working with people who need extra help locating the proper documents and information necessary to ensure the voter ID can be accurate.
4. Provide funding for states to join a unified voter system
The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) is a system that all states use to ensure the voter rolls are accurate. However, just 31 states and Washington, D.C. use the system, including Republican and Democratic states. Republicans should love the system because it makes it easy to catch double voting by mail in multiple states. But if a person votes in Oklahoma by mail and then votes again by mail or in-person in Florida, it wouldn't be spotted in ERIC because Oklahoma isn't part of their system.
5. End Felony Disenfranchisement
A few states, including a number of GOP-controlled ones, have passed ballot initiatives saying that once someone serves their time in prison then they should be allowed to vote again when they're let out. Since the majority of the GOP states already have laws that allow people to vote after their sentence, the federal government could agree to the reform as well.
6. Mandate at least two weeks of early voting
Americans love early voting and they use it either by mail or in person. They like to get it out of the way, particularly if it interferes with work. Over 30 states offer early voting already, including many Republican states. Voting on Tuesday is an outdated tradition, which is why the federal government should ensure two full weeks of early voting that would give voters easier access to the polls.
7. Protections for those with disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act outlines all of the mandates that governments must do to ensure that those who are disabled have equal access. But often those requirements don't necessarily extend to voter assistance. Ramps on sidewalks are mandated into and out of polling places for those who need them. The Voting Rights Act of 1964 ensured that ballots for the blind would be provided. But there is still an argument over those with intellectual or mental health disabilities. Protections should be in place that would cut through the prejudicial assumption that they're incapable of voting with or without assistance. Such an issue should earn easy support from both parties.
There are many more solutions that Democrats could attempt that Republicans could and should support -- or at the very least voting against it would make them look absurd.