Democrats are doing their best to find bipartisan support for laws. They have deftly avoided the swampy Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) slimy tactic of working toward a law then leading each of his lemming senators to vote “no.” But it appears that there really are some Republicans who want to work across the aisle.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are working together to get their leaders to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, according to NBC News. The problem is that Republicans believe, with some significant evidence, that they do not have the number of voters to win in a fair election.
Instead, they are working with the Heritage Foundation at the state level to close voting locations, gerrymander districts resembling creatures from the deep, reduce voting hours, redo the election results if they do not win, and the list goes on and on.
Both Manchin and Murkowski are moderates. They have sent a letter to Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
In it, they write the legislators urging “free, accessible, and secure elections for all,” WBOY News reported:
‘Inaction is not an option. Congress must come together – just as we have done time and again – to reaffirm our longstanding bipartisan commitment to free, accessible, and secure elections for all.’
‘We urge you to join us in calling for the bipartisan reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act through regular order. We can do this. We must do this.’
The Supreme Court has done some serious damage to the Voting Rights Act. Congress reaffirmed the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2006. However, the Supreme Court ripped the law apart in 2013. It canceled the formula used to determine whether state and local governments had to get pre-clearance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) for voting and election changes. The court described it as “outdated.”
In honor of Representative John Lewis (R-SC) who marched with Martin Luther King for the right to fair elections and passed away this year, Democrats wrote the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. What it would do is reactivate the original formula and strengthen the original law.
The Democrats need 60 Senate votes to pass the Voting Rights Act, which would make it filibuster-proof. McConnell wields the fillibuster like a sledgehammer. Manchin has refused to consider ending the filibuster, but he may eventually rethink that if he cannot get the 60 votes.
Manchin and Murkowski wrote simply urging legislators to pass a law:
‘We reflect not just on the positive impact this legislation has had on individual Americans’ ability to exercise their most fundamental right – the right to vote – and the strength of our democracy writ large, but on the important work we still have to do to realize that promise of ensuring the right of all to vote.’
The two centrist senators want the legislation to go through committee so that changes can be made. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) wants to take the John Lewis Voting Rights Act up through his panel.
A number of Democrats want the broader bill For the People Act to overhaul the election process. It is possible to fold part of that Act into the John Lews act.
But Manchin does not like it, because he urgently wants GOP support.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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