by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) said Sunday that he will vote against Democrats’ “For the People Act” and will also oppose weakening or eliminating the filibuster as he believes partisan voting legislation “will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy.”
Manchin’s comments came in an op-ed he penned for the Charleston Gazette-Mail that was published on Sunday.
“Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized,” writes Manchin, who previously served as West Virginia’s secretary of state. “Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage. 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.”
He adds that any federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both parties joining together to find a compromise lest lawmakers “risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials”
Democrats have struggled to garner support from Republicans for their two sweeping voter rights bills: H.R. 1, also known as the “For the People Act,” as well as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
The U.S. House passed the For the People Act in March by ten votes: Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson joined every Republican in voting against it. The legislation would override hundreds of state laws governing elections, federalize control of voting and elections to an unprecedented degree and end two centuries of state power to draw congressional districts.
However, it is unlikely Democrats will be able to find the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation in the Senate.