Garland’s speech comes as voting rights legislation faces dire challenges in Congress given the Democrats’ simple majority in the House and Senate, as well as internal tensions between progressives and moderates over the Biden’s favorite expansion: the “For the People Act”.
This bill received the symbolically important designations HR 1 and S. 1, usually a demonstration of the top priority of majority leadership.
But Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) cemented his opposition to the measure last week in an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail and subsequent media interviews, saying it would “divide us further” as nation. (He signaled his support for the narrower HR 4 named in honor of the late Democratic Representative John Lewis.)
Manchin’s statement nearly doomed the legislation in a 50-50 Senate and has drawn opprobrium from outspoken liberal Democrats, who are increasingly activated around voting rights issues as state lawmakers Republicans are imposing new election laws in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s loss to Biden.
Much of this attention has been focused on Texas – which is still pending – and Georgia, although other GOP-led states like Florida have pushed for new laws to be implemented that in l ‘together tighten up the voting rules with an emphasis on things like postal voting and non-traditional voting options like 24/7 ballot boxes and drive-thru polls.
The Republican-led effort comes as Trump has refused to accept the legitimacy of his loss to Biden and his staunch supporters have clung to various election-related conspiracy theories that seek to question the integrity of the contests from last year.