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Joe Manchin's Big Move on Voting Law

Democratic senator floats a compromise ahead of next week's vote
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2021 11:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia earned the wrath of fellow Democrats earlier this month when he announced that he wouldn't back a major election-reform law. Now, ahead of next week's vote, Manchin has put a compromise in play. Coverage:

  • Manchin released a lengthy list of reforms he does support in the For the People Act, as well as in the separate bill known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Read his list in full via Politico. It includes things that will please and anger both Democrats and Republicans.
  • For example, Manchin wants to ban partisan gerrymandering, which Vox explains is "a high priority for both small-d democrats and large-D Democrats, who want to prevent the GOP from seizing control of the House of Representatives with rigged congressional maps." Also good news for Democrats: He backs automatic voter registration, a mandated 15 days of early voting, and the designation of Election Day as a holiday, per the AP.

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  • On the other hand, Manchin supports new voter ID requirements backed by Republicans, and he would give state officials more leeway in their ability to remove names from voter rolls, per Politico.
  • A big sign that Manchin's proposal is seen as acceptable to the progressive wing of the Democratic party: Stacey Abrams said Thursday that she likes it, reports NBC News. "What Sen. Manchin is putting forward are some basic building blocks that we need to ensure that democracy is accessible no matter your geography," said the prominent voting-rights advocate. "And those provisions that he is setting forth are strong ones that will create a level playing field, will create standards that do not vary from state to state, and I think will ensure that every American has improved access to the right to vote despite the onslaught of state legislation seeking to restrict the access to vote."
  • Senate Democrats were expected to huddle Thursday to discuss strategy ahead of the vote, reports the Hill. Manchin made clear he would support the legislation if revised, which would mean unanimous Democratic support. But the bill will likely still be doomed because Republicans could kill it with the filibuster rule—and Manchin remains opposed to scrapping the filibuster.
(Read more Joe Manchin stories.)

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