Sen. Joe Manchin is proposing an extensive list of changes to his party’s sweeping elections and voting bill, raising hopes among Democrats that they could unite behind the legislation even if the measure is nearly certain to be blocked by Republicans in a showdown Senate vote next week.
Manchin, a West Virginia moderate, said he’s now open to supporting a bill if it’s revised, despite declaring earlier this month that the measure was the “wrong piece of legislation to bring our country together.” He released a proposed list of changes ahead of a meeting of Senate Democrats Thursday to discuss the path forward. That meeting was called by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is vowing to hold a vote on the bill in June no matter what, saying “we have to get it done.”
As written, the Democrats’ bill would bring about the largest overhaul of U.S. voting in a generation, touching nearly every aspect of the electoral process. It would remove hurdles to voting erected in the name of election security, like voter ID laws, while curtailing the influence of big money in politics. It would create a nonpartisan process for redrawing congressional districts, expand mail voting and early voting, restore the rights of felons to cast a ballot, and scores of other provisions.