How the NAACP grades Mitt Romney, Mike Lee on voting rights, COVID-19 relief

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah., arrives for a Senate Judiciary
Committee hearing on voting rights on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 20. Lee, who described a Democratic election
reform bill as being written "by the devil himself,” received a
failing grade from civil rights groups that strongly back the
legislation.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah., arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 20. Lee, who described a Democratic election reform bill as being written "by the devil himself,” received a failing grade from civil rights groups that strongly back the legislation. (Bill Clark, Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — It's probably not a surprise that a Utah senator who described a Democratic election reform bill as being written "by the devil himself" received a failing grade from civil rights groups that strongly backed the legislation.

The NAACP handed Republican Sen. Mike Lee an F for his votes on the American Rescue Plan, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the For the People Act and his stance on eliminating the filibuster.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, also got an F on the first-ever Senate scorecard released by a coalition of civil organizations, led by the NAACP. The two Utah senators weren't alone. All 50 GOP senators received the same low mark.

The National Urban League, National Action Network, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, Fighting for Our Vote Initiative, National Council of Negro Women and the NAACP graded every senators' performance defending voting rights in Congress. The scorecard comes a week after GOP senators blocked the John Lewis voting rights bill.

Both Utah senators scored zeroes across the board on the groups' scoring system for their votes on the three bills as well as their position on the filibuster.

The NAACP and several civil rights organizations
released a scorecard Wednesday grading U.S. senators on their votes
on election reform and COVID-19 relief bills.
The NAACP and several civil rights organizations released a scorecard Wednesday grading U.S. senators on their votes on election reform and COVID-19 relief bills. (Photo: NAACP)

Lee tore into the For the People Act during a Fox News interview in March.

"Everything about this bill is rotten to the core. This is a bill as if written in hell by the devil himself. This takes all sorts of decisions that the federal government really has no business making. It takes them away from the states, makes them right here in Washington, D.C., by Congress," he said.

The bill would require states to offer same-day voter registration for federal elections and to allow voters to change their registration at the polls. It calls for states to hold early voting for at least 15 days, offer ballot drop boxes and expand mail-in voting. It also includes campaign finance and ethics reforms.

Lee and Romney voted against President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package known as the American Rescue plan earlier this year.

Romney recently penned an op-ed for The Washington Post defending the Senate filibuster, a rule that requires 60 votes to pass most legislation. The need to marshal 60 votes leads to compromise and middle ground, he said.

"It not only empowers the minority but also has helped to keep us centered, fostering the stability and predictability essential to investment in people, in capital and in the future," Romney wrote.

Democrats have talked about the need to get rid of the filibuster to advance the Biden administration's agenda, specifically the voting rights bills that stalled in the evenly divided Senate.

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Dennis Romboy

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