CHN: Senate Republicans Block Voting Rights Bill

Republican Senators on Oct. 20 blocked a voting rights and election reform bill. Sixty votes were needed to overcome a procedural hurdle that would have allowed Senators to move forward with the bill, but not a single Republican supported advancing the measure.

The Freedom to Vote Act (S. 2747) would set national standards for early voting and voting by mail, set standards for states that require voter identification, end partisan gerrymandering, limit the influence of dark money so that billionaires can’t buy elections, and make Election Day a national holiday. The bill is in part a response to Republican state legislatures that have this year enacted multiple bills to restrict access to voting, disproportionately affecting people of color, and making it easier to challenge election results. It was scaled back from the House-passed For the People Act, which was opposed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), to try to gain his support and that of Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he may bring up the narrower John Lewis Voting Rights Act for a floor vote soon.

Some advocates have supported abolishing the filibuster or reforming it to allow certain bills, like voting rights legislation, to pass with only a simple majority instead of the 60-vote supermajority required for most legislation. But Sen. Manchin has repeatedly said he opposes changes to filibuster rules. It would take 50 votes plus Vice President Harris’s tie-breaker to modify the filibuster; with no anticipated Republican support, the loss of one Democratic or Independent senator would sink the effort.

election reform
voting rights