Frosh Leads Attorneys General In Support for Federal Election Reform Package

    Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D). Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

    Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) led a coalition of 21 attorneys general in support of a federal election reform Tuesday.

    In a letter to congressional leadership, Frosh and his fellow attorneys general urged the passage of the “For the People Act” being spearheaded by Rep. John D. Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Sen. Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Or.). That proposal aims to make voting more accessible and crack down on gerrymandering.

    “America faces a stark choice — whether to pursue the reforms necessary to make this country a functional multiracial democracy, or to accept the systemic and accelerating disenfranchisement of Black and other minority voters,” the letter reads.

    Sarbanes’ bill includes a slew of election reforms, such as requiring states to offer same-day registration and requiring at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections. It would also include reforms aimed at transparency, including to require presidential candidates to publicly disclose their tax-returns.

    The omnibus legislation would also require states to implement online registration and automatically register eligible voters, and lays out additional expansions to mail-in voting during federal elections.

    Sarbanes previously said the 2020 elections should serve as an example of why such reform is needed.

    “A lot of people out there feel like their voice isn’t respected,” he said. “If we can get these changes in place it’ll create a lot more accountability in our democracy.”

    Frosh said in a release that he thinks the legislation is necessary after false claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election. The release notes that there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the election, despite the unsubstantiated claims.

    “We have witnessed the dangerous result of lies and misinformation spread about our voting process and systems,” Frosh said. “H.R. 1 will help curtail attempts to suppress the vote of millions of people, protect our election process from foreign interference, and ensure our elected officials are unable to profit from their office.”

    In addition to Frosh, attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington signed the letter, according to the release.

    The legislation is expected to pass through the House, but might hit a snag in the Senate: Maryland Matters previously reported that the 50-50 party split in the Senate means the proposal is unlikely to advance without significant new Republican support or an end to the filibuster.

    Several state legislators are attempting similar reforms on the state level. Maryland lawmakers have introduced bills looking to permanently expand mail-in voting, and and others are looking to increase transparency from local election boards.

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    Bennett Leckrone
    Leckrone is a December 2019 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He has interned at The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Columbus Dispatch, PennLive.com, The Dayton Daily News and The Troy Daily News. Leckrone is a Report for America corps member.