Joe Manchin “Revises” his opposition to the Federal Takeover of National Elections.
Unsurprisingly, Sen. Manchin now has circulated a list of demands for voting legislation, reported as follows by Grace Segers for CBC News.
Washington — Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has circulated a list of demands for voting legislation among his Democratic colleagues, indicating he may be willing to consider a revised version of the sweeping voting and elections reform bill that the Senate will take up at the end of the month.
Manchin previously expressed his opposition to S. 1, known as the For the People Act, raising concerns about passing partisan voting legislation. Supporters of the bill note that several Republican-led states are advancing laws that would restrict voting rights along party lines, and say that S. 1 is necessary to counter these actions.
Manchin told reporters on Wednesday that he had shared with his colleagues “things I can support and vote with” in the For the People Act.
“People were assuming that I was against S. 1, because there was no Republicans supporting it. That’s not the case at all,” Manchin said. “I said basically, you should not pass any type of a voter bill in the most divisive time of our life unless you have some unity on this thing, because you just divide the country further.”
According to a copy of the list obtained by CBS News, these areas of support include provisions banning partisan gerrymandering and mandating at least 15 consecutive days of early voting for federal elections. Manchin’s list also includes areas of compromise relating to ethics and campaign finance.
However, he supports some provisions that could be unpopular with progressive Democrats, such as requiring a voter ID with “allowable alternatives” for providing proof of identity to vote and allowing elections officials to purge voter rolls. He also does not appear to support no-excuse mail-in voting, although he would want to require states to send absentee ballots to eligible voters ahead of an election.
The list also does not address one of the most controversial campaign finance portions of the bill, which would provide public financing for congressional elections.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday began the process to bring the legislation to the Senate floor for consideration next week. In a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, Schumer said that “we Democrats wish a voting rights bill would be bipartisan,” but added that “Washington Republicans seem dead set against all remedies.” “The idea that we can have some kind of bipartisan solution to this partisan attack on democracy befuddles me,” Schumer said. Schumer told reporters later on Thursday that the Senate would vote on a motion to proceed with the bill next Tuesday.
Manchin is currently the lone Democrat who is not a co-sponsor of the bill. He told reporters on Thursday that he had been in contact with Stacey Abrams, a former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights activist, to discuss the bill, along with other stakeholders. “I’ve been working across the aisle with all the Republicans trying to get people to understand that that’s the bedrock of our democracy — an accessible, fair, and basically secured voting,” Manchin said. Abrams threw her support behind the bill.
Manchin has repeatedly said he would not support eliminating the filibuster, which would allow legislation to pass in the Senate with a simple majority of votes.But even if Manchin’s changes to S. 1 were implemented, it’s unclear whether that bill would garner any support whatsoever from Republicans, who are unilaterally opposed.
Since the bill would require 60 votes to advance in the Senate and Democrats only hold 50 seats, the measure would fail even with Manchin’s support unless it got support from 10 Republicans — which seems increasingly unlikely. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement on Thursday that he would not support a revised bill
Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital based in Washington, D.C.
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