Democratic Senator Joe Manchin Opposes His Party’s Efforts to Overhaul US Election Law and Eliminate the Filibuster
Much to the chagrin of his party, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has said he will not vote for their election reform bill or for any changes to the filibuster.
Writing an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin said that “voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen.” He criticized the efforts of a handful of Republican legislatures and governors to “needlessly restrict voting,” but he also disapproved of his Democratic colleagues trying to pass a bill that would “destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy.”
The For the People Act, according to the Associated Press, would allow no-excuse absentee balloting and obligate each state to offer 15 days of early voting, among many other provisions. Numerous outlets have called it the most comprehensive election reform bill in at least a generation.
Manchin added in his op-ed that he would not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster. Current filibuster rules stipulate that at least 60 votes are needed to pass major legislation, and with every Senate Republican united in opposition to the For the People Act, the bill is all but dead on arrival.
“Some Democrats have again proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support,” he wrote. “They’ve attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past.”
Manchin, however, is not opposed to election reform per se. He backs the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill supported by Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK) that, according to Manchin, would “update the formula states and localities must use to ensure proposed voting laws do not restrict the rights of any particular group or population.” Nevertheless, Manchin alone is standing athwart his party’s most extreme priorities and yelling “Stop”—and for that he should be commended.