America’s democracy is in crisis – how can Joe Biden fix voting rights?

America’s democracy is in crisis – how can Joe Biden fix voting rights?

The president-elect’s ability to fix the crisis hinges on whether or not Democrats win the Georgia runoffs – but there are a few areas where he could act unilaterally

When Joe Biden is inaugurated next month, he will inherit an America where democracy is in crisis.

The 2020 election exposed the urgent need to protect the right to vote in America. Throughout the year, voters waited hours in line to cast their ballots, some until the early hours of the morning. Democrats and voting rights groups brought an explosion of lawsuits seeking to ease restrictions around mail-in voting as Republicans around the country refused to budge.

The president-elect’s ability to fix these problems hinges significantly on whether or not Democrats win two runoff Senate races in Georgia, giving them full control of Congress and the White House. If Democrats do take full control, they are likely to move sweeping voting reforms, including requiring automatic voter registration across the country and restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.

But if Democrats fail to retake the Senate, Biden will be more limited in what he can do to fix voting rights. The US constitution gives the president almost no power over elections, instead entrusting that authority to state legislatures and Congress. Nonetheless, there are a few key areas where Biden could act unilaterally.