Democrats Reveal GOP Defector In Deal For Voting Rights Act


This week, a bipartisan compromise in support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was announced by four key Senators, including Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). As of the announcement, Murkowski appeared to be the only Senate Republican in support of the legislation, although current Senate filibuster rules combined with the chamber’s current party breakdown mean that nine more Republican votes would be needed to move the bill forward. Still, Democratic leaders are pressing onward.

If enacted, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore a form of the so-called pre-clearance policy that was included in the original Voting Rights Act. That policy would demand the approval by federal authorities of certain changes to the handling of elections before those changes were actually implemented, which would hopefully give officials a chance to stop at least some instances of voter suppression in their tracks. Thousands of suppressive measures were halted under the policy when it was previously in place before a Supreme Court ruling set it aside in 2013.

The newly announced bipartisan compromise on the new bill includes changes to the originally introduced version of the legislation that are meant to bring it more in line with Republican interests, with an eye towards garnering their support. The problem, though, is that Senate Republicans — especially those who follow closely in line with Mitch McConnell — aren’t exactly known for being keen on good faith, bipartisan negotiations — to put it lightly. Nonetheless, the Senate was preparing to vote on moving the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act forward this Wednesday — giving Republicans an opportunity to launch what would presumably be a successful filibuster.

Murkowski commented as follows on the occasion of the release of the bipartisan compromise:

‘Voting rights are fundamental to our democracy and how we protect them defines us as a nation. I have supported this particular legislation in previous Congresses and continued to work with my colleagues on it, because it provides a framework through which legitimate voting rights issues can be tackled. This year, our bill incorporates the Native American Voting Rights Act, which addresses some of the long-standing obstacles that American Indians and Alaska Natives face. Every American deserves equal opportunity to participate in our electoral system and political process, and this bill provides a starting point as we seek broader bipartisan consensus on how best to ensure that.’

Republicans around the country have imposed tough new voting restrictions despite the total lack of any legitimate evidence for systematic election integrity problems. The evidence, no matter Trump supporters’ best attempts, is simply not there — although this hasn’t stopped them.