Voting Rights Legislation Blocked Again in Senate

Senate Republicans filibustered the Democrats’ voting rights legislation last Wednesday, blocking the bill from even being debated. The vote to strengthen voter protections came as several GOP-controlled state legislatures vow to enact even more restrictive voting laws.

The legislation voted on was the Freedom to Vote Act, S. 2747, a pared-down voting rights and elections bill that was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN) in September after the state of Texas enacted a draconian new voting restrictions law.

The vote to proceed to a debate on the bill failed 49-51, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) voting against proceeding with the bill at the last minute — a technical maneuver that enables him to file a motion to reconsider it later. No Republicans voted to proceed to debate. Sixty votes were needed to break the filibuster.

The Freedom to Vote Act is the product of negotiations among Senate Democratic lawmakers including Majority Leader Schumer and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. It would make Election Day a federal holiday, establish same-day voter registration nationwide, set federal standards on mail-in voting, establish limited voter ID requirements and ban partisan gerrymandering.

“Making sure everyone has the right to vote is a key part of living in a democracy,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “This week’s vote means we still need national legislation that ensures all eligible voters, wherever they live, can cast a ballot easily that is counted.”

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