WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats’ latest effort to overhaul election rules nationwide was set to be blocked later Wednesday by Republicans, leaving the effort at a standstill and progressive activists frustrated.
The bill, the product of negotiations dominated by Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.), is expected to get the support of all Democrats in the 50-50 Senate but needs 60 votes to advance.
Democratic lawmakers have called their elections push a priority, arguing it would protect and expand voter access as many GOP-led states pursue tighter laws and former President Donald Trump and his allies continue to reject the 2020 election results. Republicans have blocked the Democrats’ efforts, calling the proposed changes federal overreach that could weaken the integrity of elections and take rules out of the hands of local officials.
The “Freedom to Vote Act” would make Election Day a national holiday, require states to allow voters to register on the day of an election starting in November 2022, mandate 15 days of early voting, restore voting rights to felons who have completed their prison sentences, and force all states to allow mail-in voting, among other provisions.
The bill is a “balanced, effective and common-sense proposal that will fortify our democracy and protect Americans’ right to vote,” said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.
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