Manchin wants bipartisan deal on less-expansive voting rights bill after striking deadly blow to 'For the People Act'

Manchin wants bipartisan deal on less-expansive voting rights bill after striking deadly blow to 'For the People Act'
Image via Wikimedia Commons.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) says he wants to pass bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, eight years after the Supreme Court effectively killed the 1965 law responsible for protecting the right to vote and responsible for a tremendous increase in the number of Americans voting.

Senator Manchin now says he's interested in working with Republicans on this legislation, after announcing he will not support HR1/S1, the For the People Act that would protect and expand voting rights, strike down legislation that has passed or has been filed in 48 states to suppress the right to vote, and address partisan gerrymandering and dark money in politics.

The Democrat from West Virginia, who is rated more conservative than Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), is teaming up with the Alaska Republican to support the John Lewis Act, a precursor of HR1/S1, that does not go as far or wide as the For the People Act.

This is the first time Sen. Manchin has addressed the Voting Rights Act in his entire time in the U.S. Senate, based on a search of his government website.

"As you know," Manchin and Murkowski write in a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, "in 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby v. Holder that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which determines which states and localities must get pre-clearance from the Department of Justice or the court before they make changes to their voting laws, was unconstitutional because it was based on an outdated formula."

"This decision effectively gutted one of the federal government's most effective tools to preserve confidence in our nation's elections, and we are seeing the results manifest themselves in state legislatures across the country."

"Inaction is not an option. Congress must come together – just as we have done time and again – to reaffirm our longstanding bipartisan commitment to free, accessible, and secure elections for all. We urge you to join us in calling for the bipartisan reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act through regular order. We can do this. We must do this."

Manchin has also made clear he opposes filibuster reform, so unless he can find another nine Republicans to join him and Sen. Murkowski – or get rid if the filibuster –this isn't going anywhere.

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