Senate Democrats Introduce Pared-Down Voting Rights Bill

In Summary

Democrats in the Senate have faced an uphill battle to get voting rights legislation passed, largely in part to Republican opposition. Democrats hope the new measure will convince their GOP colleagues to pass the bill. 

Senate Democrats, including moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, introduced a watered-down voting rights bill on Tuesday, with the hope that it could pass in a deeply divided Congress.   

The Freedom of Vote Act keeps important parts of the For the People Act, such as a national minimum standard for early voting and vote-by-mail, making Election Day a federal holiday and groups having to disclose their donors, according to Washington Post.   

The new measure still faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Republicans will most likely reject it. The GOP in several states has proposed or passed restrictive voting bills that make it harder for people to access the polls, particularly Black and Brown voters.   

RELATED: House Passes John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Democrats are trying to “appoint themselves a national Board of Elections on steroids” and that elections should be left up to the states, according to the New York Times.   

“There is no reason for the federal government to take over how we conduct elections,” McConnell told reporters. “It is a solution in search of a problem, and we will not be supporting that.”  

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted the GOP for their continued refusal to support expanded voting rights access.  

“Republicans formed a wall of total opposition against any progress on voting rights in the United States Senate,” Schumer said. “But Republicans’ refusal to work with us is no excuse for not getting something done.”  

The For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act have been held up in the Senate, following passage in the House.   

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