Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) revealed on Wednesday what provisions he would support in the For the People Act, a broad package of voting rights, campaign finance, ethics and redistribution reforms.
The list Manchin touted as a “compromise for the people” comes just over a week after he declared his opposition to the bill in an editorial for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, and a week before a vote expected in the Senate on the invoice. The bill has already passed the House in a vote close to the party line, with only one Democratic lawmaker voting against.
Manchin is the only Democrat opposed to the For the People Act in the heavily divided Senate, which gives him significant clout in negotiating a bill seen as the party’s legislative priority. With the thinnest majority possible, Democrats need his support to get the bill passed. Even then, his currently declared opposition to the Senate filibuster amendment would make it impossible to pass without the support of 10 Republicans.
Among the provisions relating to the right to vote included in Manchin’s proposal are the expansion of early voting, the obligation of automatic voter registration, the making of polling day a public holiday, the obligation for States informing voters of changes in polling location at least seven days in advance and ensuring that provisional ballots are counted even if they were dropped in the wrong neighborhood, among other things.
Manchin-backed campaign finance reforms include disclosure of ‘black money’, tightening the ban on coordination between candidates and super PACs, forcing tech platforms to disclose political advertising and a mandate for campaigns to disclose any contact with foreign actors. He also supports a provision banning partisan gerrymandering of congressional constituencies and ethical provisions to strengthen the enforcement of foreign lobbying and tighten conflict of interest rules, including requiring presidents and vice-presidents to step down. any financial investment that could pose a conflict of interest after taking up their post.
These provisions are just a few of the version of the People’s Law currently before the Senate. There were several Manchin did not list in his proposal, although he did not indicate whether he opposed it. These include mandates authorizing states to allow postal voting without excuse, same-day voter registration, extension of postal voting such as ballot requirements, restoration of the right to vote for voters. persons convicted of crimes, the voluntary public funding of congressional elections, the restructuring of the Federal Election Commission, requiring a recording track for paper ballots, a significant number of other lobbying and ethics reforms, and an effective rollback of state voter identification laws that would allow voters to bypass identification requirements if they prove their identity under penalty of perjury, among other things.
The only area where Manchin wants to add a new provision that Democrats can oppose is voter identification. He wants a national voter identification warrant, albeit one that would allow voters to use many different types of identification, including a utility bill. Such a provision could override some of the more stringent voter identification laws in states that only allow a few types of identification to vote.
Although he presented it as a ‘compromise’, it is not clear whether Manchin’s proposal will convince at least 10 Republicans to join Democrats in passing a bill to overhaul the country’s voting systems. .
Republicans oppose the imposition of general federal standards on voting. Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Has insisted that no Republican senator supports voting rights legislation. GOP lawmakers have also defended state-level efforts to restrict access to the ballot.
Manchin’s stance means Democrats will also have to give a bit and agree to changes to their broad voting and ethics agenda for it to become law.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Told her colleagues in a letter earlier this week that nothing less than the original For the People Act will do. However, negotiations are underway with Manchin, the Democratic Party leadership and all of the bill’s major sponsors on how to get his support for the bill.
The voting rights debate will come to a head next week when the Senate votes on the bill. Democratic leaders have not said what kind of changes, if any, they will make to the bill. But they’ll need Manchin’s backing to move anything on the ground, as the committee votes on the deadlocked 9-9 bill on a party line vote.
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