In an interview on Wednesday afternoon, Manchin said he’d done the best he could to put together a proposal he could support. He acknowledged party leaders might not go along: “I couldn’t vote for it in the form it is. Now, whether anybody is going to change it … [the memo] might not, might not change their mind. I understand that and I respect that.”
Manchin is making clear he’s not against everything in the elections bill: He supports expanded early voting and a ban on partisan gerrymandering, according to a copy of his memo obtained by POLITICO. But he also wants new voter ID requirements and is pushing for more flexibility for state officials to remove voters from voter rolls, both of which run counter to the design of the elections bill that already passed the House….
Schumer began the process of bringing a piece of legislation shaped by Rules Committee Democrats to the floor for a vote next week, which will need 60 votes to advance. A spokesperson said that legislation could be the vehicle for changes sought by Manchin.
Among the provisions that Manchin opposes or is uneasy about in the elections bill his party’s dubbed S1 are no-excuse absentee voting and public financing of elections. And some senior House Democrats who shepherded the voting bill through their chamber are listening to the Democratic Senate’s gregarious 50th voter.
“I like a lot of what I saw,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said in a brief interview. He called the memo a “great first step” toward getting something into law.
The memo follows a Monday meeting attended by GOP senators as well as civil rights groups. Attendees of the Monday meeting included Sens. Lindsay Graham (S.C.), Susan Collins (Maine), Mitt Romney (Utah) and Tim Scott (S.C.), according to senators and sources familiar with the meeting. In addition, Manchin invited Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Thom Tillis (N.C.), and Todd Young (Ind.).
“I did it because I was asked by Sen. Manchin,” Graham said. “We have differences on S. 1 but I’d like to make voting easier. Maybe have some uniform standards on how you do mail-in balloting. There might be some things we can do … He’s always trying to find a way forward on stuff.”