Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has scheduled a procedural vote next week on the Freedom to Vote Act, a more narrowly focused voting rights bill that Schumer says has the backing of every Senate Democrat.
The legislation is the result of months of negotiations between Schumer, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and seven other Democratic senators. Manchin has been doing outreach to Republican senators but the bill has no GOP support. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other Republican lawmakers see this and other voting rights bills as an attempt by Democrats to federalize the election process.
“This is not something that the federal government has been historically involved in for good reason,” McConnell said several weeks ago about the compromise legislation.
The Freedom to Vote Act includes voter access provisions that would create automatic voter registration, make Election Day a national holiday and establish floors for states on early voting, same-day registration, mail voting and drop boxes. It also focuses on election integrity, establishing cybersecurity standards and protecting election officials from partisan interference.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter this week, Schumer said, “I hope that our Republican colleagues will join us in good faith, and as I have said before, if they have ideas on how to improve the legislation, we are prepared to hear them, debate them, and if they are in line with the goals of the legislation, include them in the bill.”