According to Prospect, recent findings have revealed that voter turnout last year was record breaking and could cause another “100-year storm of voters” in 2020.
Last year, there were historic jumps in Latino voter turnout and youth voter turnout. More, policies such as same-day and automatic voter registration boosted turnout significantly. The ten states with the highest turnout- around 61 percent- were the states that made it the easiest for voters to cast ballots.
These trends are likely one of the reasons why Mitch McConnell has reacted so negatively to HR 1, the recently approved package of democracy reforms. The legislation facilitates voting and prepares to overhaul the political money/ethics/lobbying rules. A big part of the For the People Act, though, is about removing barriers to voting.
The bill requires states to allow voters to register on the day they vote, and also requires that eligible voters be automatically registered when they interact with government agencies. The bill also promotes online voting, early voting, and registration on college campuses. It would also make Election Day a holiday for federal workers.
These measures could boost turnout even more drastically. McConnell angrily criticized the idea of “another paid holiday” for “a bunch of government workers” which amounts to “a power grab” from the Democrats. He calls the bill the “Democratic Politician Protection Act” and argues that the Federal Election Commission overhaul required by the bill would give the Democrats more control.
At a press conference, McConnell said, “What it really is, is a bill designed to make it more likely that Democrats win more often,” McConnell declared. “Nothing else.”
Low-turnout elections have usually favored Republicans, partly because Republican voters tend to be older and vote more reliably. In contrast, younger and more ethnically diverse voters tend to vote Democrat, and vote more sporadically.
Now, two-thirds of Americans are saying that “everything possible should be done” to make it easy for people to vote. In addition to HR 1, House Democrats are attempting to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would give states with a history of voter discrimination federal supervision at the polls.
McConnell has vowed he would block HR 1 from the Senate.
At a Senate press conference to discuss the bill last month, one reporter asked McConnell: “Why is incentivizing people to vote a power grab?”
McConnell responded, “Well, what is the problem? We had the biggest election turnout since 1966 last year.”