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Sen. Joe Manchin Issues A Voting Rights 'Compromise' Proposal
Democratic Party

Sen. Joe Manchin Issues A Voting Rights 'Compromise' Proposal


Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVa.) announced Wednesday which provisions of the For the People Act, a comprehensive package of voting rights, campaign finance, ethics, and redistricting reforms, he will support.

The list Manchin presented as a “For the People Act Compromise” comes just over a week after he declared his opposition to the bill in an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, and one week before a scheduled Senate floor vote on the bill, which already passed the House on a near party-line vote, with only one Democratic lawmaker voting against it.

Manchin is the only Democrat in the Senate who opposes the For the People Act, giving him significant leverage in negotiating a bill that is considered the party's top legislative priority. With the smallest of possible majorities, Democrats need his support for the bill to pass. Even then, his current stated opposition to changing the Senate's filibuster would make it impossible to pass the bill.

Among the voting rights provisions included in Manchin's proposal are expanding early voting, mandating automatic voter registration, declaring Election Day a holiday, requiring states to notify voters about polling place changes at least seven days in advance, and ensuring that provisional ballots are counted even if they were filed at the wrong precinct.

Manchin supports campaign finance reforms such as disclosing "dark money," tightening the ban on coordination between candidates and super PACs, requiring tech platforms to disclose political advertising, and requiring campaigns to disclose any contacts with foreign actors. He also supports a provision prohibiting partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts and ethics provisions.

These are just a few of the provisions in the version of the For the People Act that is currently being debated in the Senate.

These are just a few of the provisions in the version of the For the People Act that is currently being debated in the Senate..Manchin did not mention several in his proposal, and he did not say whether he opposes them.

These are just a few of the provisions in the version of the For the People Act that is currently being debated in the Senate..Manchin did not mention several in his proposal, and he did not say whether he opposes them..These include mandates requiring states to allow no-excuse absentee voting, same-day voter registration, expansions of voting by mail such as ballot drop box requirements, the restoration of voting rights to felons, voluntary public financing of congressional elections, restructuring the Federal Election Commission, mandating a paper ballot record trail, and a slew of other initiatives.

These are just a few of the provisions in the version of the For the People Act that is currently being debated in the Senate..Manchin did not mention several in his proposal, and he did not say whether he opposes them..These include mandates requiring states to allow no-excuse absentee voting, same-day voter registration, expansions of voting by mail such as ballot drop box requirements, the restoration of voting rights to felons, voluntary public financing of congressional elections, restructuring the Federal Election Commission, mandating a paper ballot record trail, and a slew of other initiatives..

The one area where Manchin wants to add a new provision that Democrats may oppose is on voter identification. He wants a national voter ID mandate, but one that allows voters to use many different kinds of identification, including a utility bill. Such a provision could overturn some of the strictest state voter ID laws, which allow only a few types of identification for voting.

Despite his pitch as a "compromise," it is unclear whether Manchin's proposal will persuade at least ten Republicans to join Democrats in passing legislation to overhaul the nation's voting systems.

Republicans are opposed to imposing broad federal voting standards. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has stated unequivocally that no Republican senator supports voting rights legislation, and GOP lawmakers have defended state-level efforts to restrict access to the ballot.

Because of Manchin's position, Democrats will have to make some concessions and accept changes to their comprehensive voting and ethics reform package in order for it to become law.

In a letter earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told her colleagues that nothing less than the original For the People Act would suffice, but negotiations with Manchin, Democratic Party leadership, and all of the bill's principal sponsors are still ongoing.

The debate over voting rights will heat up next week when the Senate votes on the bill. Democratic leaders have not said what changes, if any, they will make to the bill, but they will need Manchin's support to move anything to the floor, as the committee vote on the bill deadlocked 9-9 on a party-line vote.

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