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Democrats will propose new voting rights bill

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Democrats will propose new voting rights bill

Senate Democrats will propose a voting rights bill Tuesday that has both progressive and centrist support in an effort to present a united front against deep Republican resistance to a new law that would set nationwide election standards.

The measure is the result of weeks of intermittent talks overseen by Senator Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat and majority leader, and was built on principles put forward by Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the lone Democratic holdout against the first, And much more a comprehensive piece of legislation called the For the People Act. Yet, like that measure, it faces heavy odds in the Senate, where Republicans are unlikely to be persuaded to abandon their opposition to the law, arguing that it is a serious redundancy and for their party. There is a potential danger.

The new bill, called the Freedom to Vote Act, omits some controversial elements of that initial bill such as the reorganization of the Federal Election Commission. It focuses heavily on guaranteeing access to the ballot since the 2020 elections following new voting restrictions being implemented nationwide by Republican legislatures. And it would establish a national voter identification standard—something that many Democrats have strongly opposed—but one that would be far less difficult than some states would require, requiring voters with a variety of ID cards and documents in paper. allows to do. and digital form.

The amended measure would also require that states allow voting at least 15 consecutive days in advance, including the end of two weeks; ensure that all voters can request to vote by mail; Establish new automatic voter registration programs, and make Election Day a national holiday. The law would mandate that states follow specific criteria when drawing the new congressional district line and force disclosure of donors to so-called black money groups.

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“After the 2020 elections, in which more Americans voted than ever before, we have seen unprecedented attacks on our democracy in states across the country,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat who leads the rules committee, which Responsible for election inspection. “These attacks demand an immediate federal response.”

Mr Manchin had stayed the original law and offered elements of a voting bill that he would back, prompting talks between Ms Klobuchar and fellow Democratic Senator Jeff Merkle of Oregon, Tim Kaine of Virginia, John Tester of Montana, Alex Padilla of California and Raphael Warnock of Georgia. Independent Senator Angus King from Maine also participated.

While Democrats rejoiced at the agreement, they also recognized that they were unlikely to attract enough Republican support to crack a filibuster against any voting bill, meaning they would have to control the filibuster if there was a law. The Senate will have to unite to change the rules. There is no chance of passing. Republicans have twice already stalled debate on the voting rights measure.

“We have to be honest about the facts,” Mr Schumer said on Monday, adding that he would try to break the impasse again next week. “The Republican-led war on democracy has only gotten worse in the last few weeks.”

Despite his support for the legislation, Mr Manchin has repeated several times to refuse to eliminate the filibuster, although he has also indicated a willingness to accept some changes. Mr Schumer noted on Monday that Mr Manchin was reaching out to Republicans to persuade them to support the new version of the voting rights bill.

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Democrats hope that Republican opposition to a measure will continue, Manchin is now invested as one of the main writers will soften his opposition to weakening the filibuster, allowing his party to become a new Republican led. Important measures to counter voting restrictions will be allowed to move forward. states.

Mr Manchin did not mention the filibuster in a statement, strongly supporting the new proposal.

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and the Freedom to Vote Act is a step in the right direction toward protecting that right for every American,” Manchin said. “As elected officials, we also have an obligation to restore people’s confidence in our democracy, and I believe the common sense provisions in this bill – such as flexible voter identification requirements – will do just that.”

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