Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia outlined a list of policy demands on election legislation, adding to a compromise several provisions that have historically been opposed by Democrats.
The three-page memo circulated by Manchin’s office suggests that the Democrat is willing to support key provisions of the For the People Act, House Resolution 1, that passed the House in March, The Washington Post reported.
The bill includes provisions mandating at least two weeks of early voting and measures to eliminate partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, among other things.
The three new major provisions would make election day a public holiday, ban partisan gerrymandering and require voter ID in order to vote, while providing alternative acceptable ID forms (like utility bills).
Only seven states have strict photo ID requirements in order to vote on election day, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Manchin’s support for mandatory ID laws could create divisions within the Democratic Party as its members seek to push the bill through the Senate.
Two Democratic aides familiar with Manchin’s views told The Post that he opposes the controversial public financing system for congressional elections present in the For the People Act.
“I’ve been sharing everything that I support and things I can support and vote with and things that I think is in the bill that doesn’t need to be in the bill, that doesn’t really interact with what we’re doing in West Virginia,” Manchin said on Wednesday.
“We’ll have to see what changes are made.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that the Senate will take an initial vote on the legislation next week.
Senate Democrats need Manchin’s support in order to pass the bill, NBC News reported.
Manchin has voiced his opposition to the For the People Act, saying that it is too partisan and voting changes need to have bipartisan support.
He also opposed changing the filibuster rules to push bills through the Senate despite opposition from most republicans.
“Congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward or we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials,” Manchin wrote in his memo.
NBC reported that Adam Bozzi, a spokesman for the progressive group End Citizens United, said, “We know that Senator Manchin cares deeply about protecting our democracy and limiting the influence of special interests and this will continue to be an on-going negotiation that everyone should let play out.”
However, Republican support for the bill — even with Manchin’s compromise — may prove hard to scrounge up.
“All Republicans, I think, will oppose that … if that were to be surfaced on the floor,” he said.
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