Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Democrats’ attempts for a compromise in overhauling the nation’s elections system would still be a power grab that would mean a federal takeover of voting.
“This latest version is only a compromise in the sense that the center-left compromised with the far left. Under the hood is the same Frankenstein’s monster that’s been there since 2019, years before the state-level actions which the Democrats now claim have made it all necessary,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor.
“It still makes Washington bureaucrats the de facto board of elections for all 50 states, dictating the terms of things like automatic and same-day voter registration,” the Kentucky Republican said.
Senate Democrats are moving toward bringing the elections overhaul measure to the floor after announcing a compromise bill has support from Sen. Joe Manchin III.
The West Virginia Democrat had been a holdout. His support means all 50 Senate Democrats back the measure.
Republicans will oppose the measure through a filibuster.
Democrats are accusing 18 Republican-led states of enacting election rules aimed at making it more difficult for people of color to vote, and their compromise bill would have the federal government override state laws.
While it would allow states to require voters to show proof of identity, the Democratic proposal would allow documents such as utility bills instead of picture IDs.
Mr. Manchin is meeting with Republicans to try to win the support of 10 GOP senators to keep the bill from being blocked. But that’s unlikely to happen.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday that Democrats want to see what further changes are needed to win Republican support, but would not wait long before voting on the bill.
“If Republicans are unwilling to move forward, Democrats will have to move on our own. Inaction from Republicans on voting rights is not an excuse to do nothing. We are going to take action to make sure we protect our democracy and fight back against the disease of voter suppression, partisan gerrymandering and election subversion that is metastasizing at the state level,” Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, said on the Senate floor.
But Mr. McConnell said Democrats aren’t really willing to compromise and Republicans will still block the bill.
“Unfortunately, this latest ‘compromise’ is just a repackaging of what even reporters called a messaging bill that was headed nowhere,” he said. “The substance is not really changing. And so neither will the result.”
• Kery Murakami can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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