House Democrats passed legislation Tuesday that would federalize America’s electoral system, giving President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) significant control over election law.

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Democrats passed legislation Tuesday that would federalize America’s electoral system, giving President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) significant control over election law.

The House passed H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021. The bill passed 219-212, with Democrats strongly in favor of the bill and Republicans largely against the bill.

Democrats named the bill after the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a prominent civil rights activist.

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The legislation would radically transform America’s electoral system. The legislation would mandate that any state and its political subdivisions would have to obtain preclearance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before making changes that might affect voting rights.

A state and its political subdivision would be subject to preclearance for a ten-year period if:

  • 15 or more voting rights violations occurred in the state during the previous 25 years;
  • 10 or more violations occurred during the previous 25 years, at least one of which was committed by the state itself; or
  • Three or more violations occurred during the previous 25 years, and the state administers the elections.
  • A political subdivision as a separate unit shall also be subject to preclearance for a 10-year period if three or more voting rights violations occurred there during the previous 25 years.

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