WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A group of senators joined voting rights advocates on Tuesday to introduce a new voting rights measure that they hope can avoid the Republican block that doomed earlier versions.
“Our democracy is on the line,” Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., said.
The newly-introduced bill sets standards for voter registration and mail-in voting, and bans partisan gerrymandering while also making Election Day a public holiday. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., called them, “basic national standards that make sure all Americans can vote.”
The measure builds off a framework proposed by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who opposed the previous measure.
Sen. Manchin, along with seven other U.S. senators – including Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, are pushing for a vote in the next few weeks.
“Before the end of October,” Sen. Merkley said.
But it isn’t just a matter of getting senators like Manchin on board. Democrats need the support of at least 10 Republicans to pass the legislation.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is already shooting down the revised bill.
“There is no reason for the federal government to take over how we conduct elections,” McConnell said Tuesday.
Several red states have enacted their own voting laws, which they say will make elections more secure.
But Democrats believe the measures will make it harder for people, especially minority groups, to vote. That’s why they want the federal government to step in.
“Time is of the essence,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.
Schumer hopes to hold a vote as early as next week. That vote is likely to fail unless some Republicans change their minds.