WASHINGTON – The Senate will hold a procedural vote next week on the passage of the legislation, said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
In a letter to his caucus Thursday, the New York Democrat said he plans to implement the procedural vote on the Freedom to Vote Act for next Wednesday.
The legislation is a response to a series of new laws that have been implemented in Republican-controlled states, creating new limits, including reducing early voting and limiting access to postal ballots. The new laws were fueled by persistent false claims by former President Donald Trump that voter fraud was the reason he lost the 2020 election.
Democrats have argued that the new Republican-backed laws amount to voter suppression and will make it harder for people to vote, especially the poor and minorities. Democrats argue federal rules are needed to block Republican-backed changes.
While the Democratic-controlled House has already approved a radical voting bill, the slim majority in the Senate requires bipartisan support.
The latest Senate bill was drafted by several Senate Democrats, including moderate Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and is seen as a compromise that can gain the full support of Democrats.
Schumer noted that Manchin is still trying to win the support of some Republicans, although there is no indication that he was successful.
“Senator Manchin has engaged in conversations with our fellow Republicans in the hopes of advancing solutions on a bipartisan basis to ensure that all Americans have their voices heard in our democracy,” Schumer wrote, adding Republicans are invited. to propose improvements to the bill.
For the bill to move forward, Democrats will need the support of at least 10 Republicans, as 60 votes are needed to overcome an obstruction.
“We cannot allow conservative-controlled states to double down on their regressive and subversive ballot bills,” Schumer said. “The Freedom to Vote Act is the legislation that will right the ship of our democracy and set common sense national standards to give fair access to our democracy to all Americans. “
In mid-September, Manchin and seven other Senate Democrats unveiled legislation, which would expand voter access and strengthen election integrity. The measure would make polling day a public holiday, require same-day registration at all polling stations by 2024, and guarantee at least 15 early voting days for federal elections.
In addition to Manchin, the bill was negotiated by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon; Amy Klobuchar, from Minnesota; Tim Kaine, from Virginia; Angus King, from Maine; Alex Padilla, from California; Jon Tester, from Montana; and Raphael Warnock, from Georgia.
Majority House Whip Jim Clyburn, DS.C., said Thursday that the likely blocking of the bill would require Senate Democrats to “get around this obstruction.” As a member of the House, Clyburn has no say in Senate obstruction rules, and lobbying campaigns have yet to convince Manchin.
“I hope this will demonstrate to Senator Manchin the need to do so,” he said on MSNBC. “I can’t imagine he would allow a filibuster to prevent black people in his state and other states from exercising their right to vote.”
CORRECTION (October 14, 2021, 12:53 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misidentified the state that Jeff Merkley represents in the United States Senate. He’s a senator from Oregon, not Virginia.