Schumer blasts GOP-led voting restrictions, says 'legislatures are making it easier to own a gun than to vote'

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Schumer blasts GOP-led voting restrictions, says 'legislatures are making it easier to own a gun than to vote'
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and the Democratic leadership speak to reporters about progress on an infrastructure bill and voting rights legislation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer on Tuesday criticized the GOP-led efforts to enact new voting laws.
  • "Republican legislatures are making it easier to own a gun than to vote," he said.
  • His comments come ahead of a Senate vote to consider a sweeping elections-reform bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday criticized Republican efforts to enact new restrictive voting laws, just hours before the upper chamber is due to take up a sweeping elections-reform bill.

"Republican legislatures are making it easier to own a gun than to vote," the New York Democrat said on the Senate floor. "Republican legislatures are making it harder to vote early, harder to vote by mail, harder to vote after work. They're making it a crime to give food or water to voters waiting in long lines."

Schumer called former President Donald Trump's debunked claims about the 2020 election the "match that lit a wildfire" of GOP-led proposals aimed at restricting voting access.

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After the 2020 presidential election, Republican states introduced or passed legislation to limit voting access. In March, for example, Georgia enacted a controversial voting-reform bill that included provisions to expand early voting, but also requires IDs for absentee ballots and bars volunteers from distributing water, food, and folding chairs to voters waiting in long lines.

"There is a rot - a rot at the center of the modern Republican Party," Schumer said. "Donald Trump's big lie has spread like a cancer and threatens to envelop one of America's major political parties."

"Because of one man's lie, Republicans are now doing the dastardly act of taking away voting from millions of Americans," he added.

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Schumer also warned that Republicans' new voter laws are "opening the door for some demagogue, a Trumpian-type demagogue - maybe he himself - to try and subvert our elections in the very same way that Trump tried to do it in 2020."

The Senate on Tuesday is scheduled to vote to consider a major voting-rights and election-reform bill, known as the For the People Act, which Republicans are virtually guaranteed to block.

The bill, which serves as congressional Democrats' response to Republican states racing to restrict voting, aims to expand voter-registration laws, boost funding for election security, and overhaul campaign-finance rules, among other measures.

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The House passed the legislation in March, but it is unlikely to meet the 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

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