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It was good to see the report on the BDN’s front page last weekend, that Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King are among a group of senators working on bipartisan legislation to tackle elections issues addressed by the Democrat voting rights bills and the Republican reforms put forward in several states.
May they have both short-term and long-term success! Short term, may they enact measures giving all voters confidence that the midterm elections later this year will be conducted fairly and competently.
Long-term, may they call for a constitutional amendment establishing clear standards in time for 2024. I believe a constitutional amendment is essential to confirm the right and responsibility states have to design their own procedures, and to set constitutional parameters within which the states must operate.
Here’s one item sure to come up for debate: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ assertion that it is perfectly legal for state legislatures to draw their district maps deliberately to benefit one political party. Here in Maine, I worry it would be fairly easy for the Legislature, controlled by Democrats, to redraw the line between the First and Second Congressional Districts, painting the Second District a robust shade of blue without threatening the hue of the First District. Republicans could kiss that presidential electoral vote goodbye.
Calling for a voting rights and procedures constitutional amendment could produce substantial debate across partisan lines and a strong constitutional amendment ratified enthusiastically by midsummer 2023. Well, that’s the dream. Maine delegation, take the lead!
David Paul Henry