I am concerned with state efforts to make it more difficult to vote. I’ve volunteered at polling stations and witnessed the impact of intimidation techniques on voters of color – particularly those who have never voted before. Amendments to the Voting Rights Act are no doubt needed.

The criticism of Sen. Susan Collins by this newspaper’s editorial board (Our View, Jan. 16), however, is misplaced, and its “my way or the highway” attitude is the wrong approach.

Laws that withstand the test of time require thoughtful scrutiny, compromise and broad public support. The Voting Rights Act is a great example of a law that has become a bedrock of our society. Congress regularly reauthorizes it with support of both Republicans and Democrats. It remains the law of the land and is enforced by the Justice Department.

While there are good elements in House-passed voting legislation, many senators see these measures as partisan wish-lists rather than a legitimate effort to build durable, defensible election reforms. Fortunately, a bipartisan group of senators is corralling support for moving important parts of the House measures, including enhancements to voter protections and updates to the Electoral Count Act, which would stop future presidents from orchestrating Donald Trump-style coups d’état. Senate leaders should embrace bipartisan ideas rather than wasting time promoting a one-sided approach and maneuvering to change Senate rules to jam the House bills through.

Collins understands legal durability requires hard work, compromise and coalition building. For lasting change, we need to support those willing to meet in the middle rather than changing Senate rules.

Dana O’Brien

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