FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVA) removes his mask to speak as bipartisan members of the Senate and House gather to announce a framework for fresh coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief legislation at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he will vote against For the People Act, a sweeping election reform bill pushed by his Democratic colleagues that are also known as S. 1 in the Senate, saying forcing it through via the reconciliation process will further deepen divisions. “I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act,” he wrote in home-state newspaper The Charleston Gazette-Mail. Manchin also reaffirmed that he won’t vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster. He criticized Democrats and Republicans for politicizing election reform to seek partisan advantage and urged both sides to work together while suggesting that the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a good starting point to gain bipartisan support for election reform. The act would federalize components of the election system, eliminating nearly all requirements for photo identification, require states to offer 15 days of early voting, allow “no-excuse” absentee balloting, require states to implement a system of automatic voter registration, and allow same-day registration on any day voting is allowed. Joe Manchin also expressed concern over the trend of vying for absolute power over cooperation inside the Beltway. “It has been said by much wiser people than me that absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he wrote. “Well, what I’ve seen during my time in Washington is that every party in power will always want to exercise absolute power, absolutely.” After a contentious 2020 election, a number of Republican-led states have enacted or proposed various measures that seek to guarantee election integrity, such as restricting mail-in voting and bolstering ID requirements. Meanwhile, Democrats are aggressively attempting to federally codify some emergency voting rights and oversight procedures that were implemented due to COVID-19 ahead of the presidential election through the For the People Act.


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