“Inside Manchin’s search for GOP votes on elections reform”


Senate Republicans are finally coming to the table on elections reform. Sort of.

As Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pursues a longshot bipartisan agreement, some Senate Republicans are engaging in preliminary discussions with him on the issue. Even though Senate Republicans have ruled out legislation Manchin and a group of Senate Democrats introduced last month, which amounted to an intraparty compromise on elections and ethics reform, that’s not stopping the West Virginia Democrat from frantically looking for GOP partners while a much-anticipated vote on the legislation remains on pause.

“I’ve been talking to him about some things that I could be for,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), the top Republican on the Rules Committee. He listed a few areas he could back, including: “some ballot security ideas, an election advisory commission, [developing] standards that states would need to comply with to get federal funding in the future.”

“We’re negotiating with Republicans in good faith and we’ll see what happens,” Manchin said this week. “We have some recommendations from our Republican friends that are going back now. So we’ll see how that goes.”

In addition to Blunt, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is among the Republicans speaking with Manchin on the issue. Others were reluctant to discuss their involvement….

But with no change in Senate rules, the latest Democratic plan has no chance of passage. Some Democrats had privately hoped that Manchin could be swayed to change the chamber’s rules if he tried and failed to get Republicans on board. Manchin, along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), is adamantly against both nixing the legislative filibuster and creating a carveout just for voting legislation….

“Joe’s just thinking: is there anything we can agree on,” said one Senate Republican. “The problem with most of what he wants to do substantively has to do with taking over the state role, and we can’t go there because we don’t believe in it.”

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