Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, confirmed that he plans to vote against the election reform bill currently being pushed by House Democrats. He also said that he will not vote to eliminate the filibuster.
“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act,” Manchin wrote in The Charleston Gazette-Mail.
The ‘For the People Act’ would obligate all states to offer at least 15 days of early voting, allow absentee ballots to be returned late, require states to put an automatic voter registration system in place, allow same-day registration on voting day, and remove all requirements for voter identification. Also called S.1, the bill would essentially give the federal government power over nearly every state’s elections.
Without Manchin’s vote, it is likely that Democrats will be unable to get enough votes in the evenly divided 50-50 Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told colleagues that he will force a vote on the bill, adding that it “is essential to defending our democracy, reducing the influence of dark money and powerful special interests, and stopping the wave of Republican voter suppression happening in states across the country.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the other hand has promised to block the bill and said that no GOP senators will support it.
According to the executive director of the Honest Elections Project, Jason Snead, “There are problems under the 14th Amendment, for instance, when it comes to felon re-enfranchisement because the 14th Amendment clearly allows states to make determinations about whether someone is going to lose their voting rights when they commit a felony and are convicted.”
“The Constitution says state legislatures have that power, but this bill compels by an act of Congress that they effectively cede that to independent redistricting commissions, so there are lots of problems with this and I think you will see a tremendous number of lawsuits filed as Congress essentially tries to step on the toes of the states,” Snead said.