The bill would have created new requirements for groups to disclose information about their donors, named Election Day a national holiday, and created federal standards for voting by mail, early voting, and voter ID.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized the Republican vote, saying “I wanna be clear about what just happened. Every single Republican senator just blocked this chamber from having a debate on Americans’ rights to free and fair elections.”
The results of the vote are unsurprising, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made clear that his caucus would not support the bill. The Kentucky Republican on Tuesday reported his “hope and anticipation” that the bill, which he decried as an effort “to have the federal government take over how elections are conducted all over America,” would fail to win Republican support.
Since they took control of the government, Democrats have insisted that voting rights are under assault across the nation as states strengthen their voting laws. These critics claim that laws to bolster voter ID requirements or to limit absentee voting disproportionately affect minorities, an argument that the Supreme Court rejected in 2021 (pdf).
Republicans, for their part, have expressed concerns about the threat of election fraud after inconsistencies in the 2020 election left many skeptical. Others, like McConnell and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have emphasized the importance of allowing states to control their own elections rather than the federal government intervening.
This bill, the latest among a wave of election bills proposed by the Democrats since January, was crafted as a compromise election bill led by moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
However, Senate Republicans have long made clear that they are unanimously opposed to federal election reform. Despite some hopes that Manchin’s compromise bill could draw the 10 needed Republicans across the aisle, Republicans unanimously united against the bill.
Schumer and other Democrats applauded the bill.
By Joseph Lord