Sen. Joe Manchin, a key Democratic member, recently shared that he plans to vote against S1, otherwise known as the For the People Act, a voting rights bill backed by Democrats. He reinstated his opposition to changing the filibuster and said that congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both political parties coming together. He said that they must find a pathway forward or “risk further dividing and destroying the republic.”
Sen. Manchin told Fox News that there’s an awful lot of things that don’t pertain directly to voting In the bill. The bill is known as one of the largest overhauls of U.S election laws and covers many aspects of the voting process, including states offering 15 days of early voting and allow no-excuse absentee balloting.
“It’s the wrong piece of legislation to bring our country together and unite our country, and I’m not supporting that because I think it would divide us more. I don’t want to be in a country that’s divided any further,” Manchin said.
He shared that some colleagues have proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support, which he opposes. He said they’ve attempted to “demonize” the filibuster and ignore how critical it is to protect the rights of Democrats in the past.
Manchin also wrote an op-ed piece for the Charleston Gazette-Mail on why will not be voting in favor of the For the People Act and stated that the right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and that we should protect that right in a bipartisan manner.
“Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized. Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground but seeking partisan advantage. Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it,” Manchin wrote.
Manchin acknowledges that there are more than 800 pages to the election reform bill and that it has garnered zero Republican support. He said that the atmosphere has become too partisan, the arguments have become too nasty, and the political agendas have become too petty. He said he hasn’t been here too long but already notices that partisan debate is “sharp” and dissent is not always well-received.
“But the American people sent us here to be their voice. They understand that those voices can at times become loud and argumentative, but they also hope that we can disagree without being disagreeable. And at the end of the day, they expect both parties to work together to get the people’s business done,” Manchin wrote.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is also one of the like-minded Democrats choosing to oppose the voting reform bill.
Considering that the constitution grants the power over elections to individual states, it’s hard to imagine that this bill wouldn’t be deemed unconstitutional. But what Democrat has read the Constitution?