New Hanover County politicos react to blocked election reform bill

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A national election reform bill blocked on the Senate floor has local Democrats and Republicans reacting and debating its true intentions.

The For the People Act would transfer control over elections from counties and states to the federal level.

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It was blocked Tuesday by a GOP filibuster, with a 50-50 vote. Democrats would have needed 60 votes to begin debate under Senate rules.

In New Hanover County, Cape Fear Community College Political Science Professor Nelson Beaulieu says the For the People Act would have put the federal government into voting to a dramatic extent.

“I think the Democrats would say it would be to protect individuals from certain laws that certain states are passing,” Beaulieu said. “Republicans would say it is an infringement on the rights of the state and a violation of the spirit of the constitution.”

New Hanover County Democratic Party Chair Andre Brown feels the right to vote is under attack, with states like North Carolina pursuing requirements like voter ID.

“The federal government here, it’s important, it’s imperative that it steps in to prevent our rights from being taken away from certain groups, especially marginalized groups,” Brown said.

The For the People Act would also create an automatic voter registry based on state records. Wayne Gibson, Executive Director of the New Hanover County GOP, worries that could enable legally ineligible people to vote.

“Any of the state kept records, if you’re on that, you’re automatically enrolled on the rolls to be eligible to vote,” Gibson said. “Well that’s going to capture a lot of alien migrants who have not gained citizenship, because a lot of them can get their driver’s licenses.”

After the bill was blocked, Vice President Kamala Harris vowed the fight was not over. However Beaulieu believes the fight it on hold for now, at least until after the next election.

“With this divided congress, there’s very little chance of the for the people act or anything like it being enacted into law,” he said.

Read more about the For the People Act here.