On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he would set a vote for next Wednesday to begin debate on a measure regarding election laws.
“We cannot allow conservative-controlled states to double down on their regressive and subversive voting bills,” Schumer said in a letter. “The Freedom to Vote Act is the legislation that will right the ship of our democracy and establish common sense national standards to give fair access to our democracy to all Americans.”
As The New York Times reported:
In his letter, Mr. Schumer said that Democrats would also continue their internal negotiations to come up with a final version of a sweeping social safety net bill that has been slowed by differences between progressives and moderates over its cost and contents. He warned that lawmakers would need to make concessions to get a final measure.
“To pass meaningful legislation, we must put aside our differences and find the common ground within our party,” Schumer said. “As with any bill of such historic proportions, not every member will get everything he or she wants.”
Senate Democrats will need ten Republicans to join them in voting for the elections bill in order to bypass the filibuster that the Republicans will likely enforce.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been a part of the process with this particular piece of legislation, but so far, he has resisted efforts to get rid of the filibuster — something many of the progressive members of his party wish to do.
“Senator Manchin has been engaged in conversations with our Republicans colleagues in hopes of advancing solutions on a bipartisan basis to ensure all Americans have their voice heard in our democracy,” Schumer wrote.
The legislation in question is the Freedom to Vote Act, “which would expand voter access and boost election integrity. The measure would make Election Day a public holiday, require same-day registration at all polling locations by 2024 and ensure at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections,” per NBC News.
The text of the bill states that it is “[t]o expand Americans’ access to the ballot box and reduce the influence of big money in politics, and for other purposes.”
According to the left-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP), “this legislation would also set nationwide voting standards to help counteract anti-democratic laws passed by legislatures in at least 17 states.” CAP claims that such laws “are often aimed at disadvantaging historically underrepresented communities, including communities of color, as well as lower-income voters and people with disabilities.”
Liberal groups and Democratic lawmakers have implied or stated outright that election integrity legislation passed in conservative states is racist.
As recently as last week, Manchin shot down the possibility of amending the filibuster after Democrats reportedly discussed making an exemption from the rule for the debt ceiling vote.
“I truly implore both leaders … to engage, start working, work this out. There should not be a crisis,” Manchin told the press at the time.
“I’ve been very, very clear where I stand, where I stand on the filibuster,” Manchin said. “I don’t have to repeat that. I think I’ve been very clear. Nothing changes. But the bottom line is we have a responsibility to be the adults. Our leadership has a responsibility to lead and that’s what I’m asking, imploring them to do.”