The United States Senate will not begin debate on the Freedom to Vote Act, CBS News reports.
The Senate voted Wednesday on a procedural motion to begin debate on the Freedom to Vote Act. The motion received 49 votes in favor and 51 votes against. It needed 60 ‘yes’ votes for debate to begin, NBC News reports.
The bill would allow automatic and same-day voter registration. It would also allow for mail-in voting without the need for special circumstances.
The Freedom to Vote Act was first introduced in March, during a time when Republican-controlled state legislatures were passing voter restriction laws, CBS News reports. It quickly passed the House, but needs Senate approval.
The bill had full Democratic support during Wednesday’s vote. The Democratic party had scaled back the bill to win the support of swing-vote Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), NBC News reports. All 50 Democratic Senators voted for the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) changed his vote to “no” to allow him to request another vote in the future.
All 50 Republican Senators voted against the motion to begin debate on the bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has voiced strong opposition to the bill.
“It is my hope and anticipation that none of us will vote for this latest iteration of Democratic efforts to take over how every American votes all over the country,” he said Tuesday, according to NBC News.
Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) expressed its disappointment with the Senate’s decision in a press release on Wednesday. The organization believes the Freedom to Vote Act will protect AAPI voters who may suffer under stricter voting laws.
“When Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders came out in historic numbers in 2020, we were able to do so because of options such as voting-by-mail and early voting,” APIAVote said in a press release. “Now, however, 19 states have passed 33 laws this year alone that will make it harder for Americans to vote – many of which make a point to limit the voting options that allowed our communities to make a decisive impact last year in the first place. This is no coincidence. This is a direct attack on Asian and Pacific Islanders and other marginalized communities in an attempt to silence us.”
The organization believes that the bill is essential to democracy.
“For democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all – and this bill does that,” APIAVote said in a press release. “It protects our freedom to vote, ensures fair representation, and limits the influence of big money in our politics; this bill will make our government accountable to the people.”
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