September 16, 2021

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Stacey Abrams backs Senate Democrats’ voting rights compromise – The Hill

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Stacey Abrams gave her blessing on Tuesday to a compromise version of Democrats’ wide-ranging voting rights bill, putting the weight of one of the country’s most influential voting rights activists behind the legislation.

In a statement shared first with The Hill, Abrams said the bill, the Freedom to Vote Act, “takes the necessary steps to protect our democracy” and “sets national standards for voting access for every eligible American regardless of zip code,” adding that the legislation has her “strong support.”

“I am confident the bill will advance the shared objectives Fair Fight Action, civil rights organizations, allies and activists across the country have worked so hard to achieve,” she said, referencing the voting rights organization Abrams established after her unsuccessful 2018 Democratic campaign for Georgia governor.


“The provisions of this legislation are overwhelmingly supported by the American people across party lines, and Senators must respond to the demands of their constituents by supporting it,” she continued.

The legislation comes as Democrats prepare for a busy fall to-do list that, in addition to voting rights, includes funding the government, raising the debt ceiling and approving a must-pass defense spending bill. It also comes as Republican state lawmakers march forward with a host of new election laws that Democrats say amount to blatant voter suppression.

Democrats’ original voting rights bill, the For the People Act, passed the House in May. But it ran into stiff opposition in the Senate: Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Tester says ‘100 percent’ of reconciliation package must be paid for Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Manchin: key energy provision of spending package ‘makes no sense’ MORE (D-W.Va.) voiced his opposition to the legislation, and it was blocked by a Republican filibuster. 

The newest version of the bill, however, was crafted by a group of senators including Manchin, virtually ensuring that it will have the support of all 50 Senate Democrats. Manchin has already been running the compromise bill by Republicans in an effort to wrangle enough GOP votes to break another filibuster.

The compromise legislation trims down parts of the For the People Act to align with the provisions Manchin previously said he would support. Still, it includes sweeping changes to the nation’s elections, including making Election Day a federal holiday, creating mandatory early-voting requirements and implementing automatic voter registration.


The bill would also set a national standard for voter ID that would allow voters to use a variety of identification cards and documents to meet the requirement. While Abrams has spoken out aggressively against certain strict identification requirements, she’s previously backed basic voter ID requirements that allow people to provide different types of documentation.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThis week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden’s agenda at stake Breyer says term limits would ‘make life easier for me’ Hillicon Valley —Apple is not a monopoly, judge rules MORE (D-Minn.) introduced the compromise bill on Tuesday along with Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer points to debt incurred under Trump to highlight need for bipartisan action Warner says .5 trillion package ‘falls short’ on housing assistance Manchin says he can’t support Biden’s .5 trillion spending plan MORE (D-N.Y.), Manchin and  Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineThis week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden’s agenda at stake The risks of running as Trump-lite Democrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards MORE (D-Va.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterTester says ‘100 percent’ of reconciliation package must be paid for ATF nominee’s fall is just latest defeat for gun control advocates Biden’s ATF nominee withdraws amid bipartisan pushback MORE (D-Mont.), Angus KingAngus KingNY Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 in latest House breakthrough case ATF nominee’s fall is just latest defeat for gun control advocates Biden’s ATF nominee withdraws amid bipartisan pushback MORE (I-Maine), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyMore insidious power grab than one attempted Jan. 6? Colorado River cutbacks set stage for decade of drought politics Wyden asks White House for details on jet fuel shortage amid wildfire season MORE (D-Ore.), Alex PadillaAlex PadillaConservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan Voting rights: Black and Latino allies More insidious power grab than one attempted Jan. 6? MORE (D-Calif.), Jon OssoffJon OssoffHerschel Walker’s entrance shakes up Georgia Senate race Herschel Walker files paperwork to run for Senate in Georgia Sanders goes back to 2016 playbook to sell .5T budget MORE (D-Ga.) and Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockHerschel Walker holds wide lead over GOP rivals in Georgia Senate primary: poll This week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden’s agenda at stake Herschel Walker to make first public appearance since entering Senate race at Georgia football game MORE (D-Ga.). 

Abrams congratulated Manchin and the rest of the working group on Tuesday, calling on lawmakers to move quickly to approve the bill as well as another piece of voting rights legislation, the John LewisJohn LewisThis week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden’s agenda at stake Texas abortion law roils businesses White House says ball is in Congress’s court on voting rights, abortion MORE Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“I commend Senator Manchin and the other working group members Senators Kaine, King, Klobuchar, Merkley, Padilla, Tester and Warnock along with Leader Schumer and Senator Ossoff for their determination to move these critical protections forward, and I urge the bill’s swift passage along with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” Abrams said.

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