Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday said he would oppose his party’s sprawling voting rights bill — because he believes it would divide the country.
In an op-ed in his home state’s Gazette-Mail, the moderate Manchin announced his rejection of the Democrat-pushed For the People Act — known as S1 — which is stalled in the Senate after the House green-lit it in March along party lines.
“Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections … is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage,” the West Virginia senator wrote.
“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.
“The right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and protecting that right should not be about party or politics,” he went on. “Least of all, protecting this right, which is a value I share, should never be done in a partisan manner.”
The bill would allow felons who have served their time in prison to vote, loosen voter ID requirements, and require states to offer mail-in ballots, same-day voter registration, as well as 15 days of early voting. Additionally, the legislation would mandate that states establish nonpartisan redistricting commissions and broaden disclosure rules on campaign advertisement spending, in order to reduce influence of dark money in politics.
Manchin — speaking of the proposed election overhaul backed by Present Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris — said he also didn’t back the legislation because it includes measures unrelated to allowing more Americans to head to the polls.
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