Republicans on Wednesday blocked the Senate from starting debate on a voting rights bill named after the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), marking the latest setback for Democrats in their push for new elections legislation.
Senators voted 50-49 on whether to bring up the bill, falling short of the 60 votes needed to move forward. Vice President Harris presided over part of the vote. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) voted no, a procedural step that lets him bring the bill back up in the future for another vote.
All Senate Democrats except Manchin introduced the bill in October to update the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) to strengthen sections that were gutted by the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, which focused on Section 5 of the VRA and its required Justice Department preclearance before some states could change voting laws, and this year’s Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee decision, which advocates believe weakened Section 2, which is focused on racially targeted voting policies.
The revised bill that Republicans blocked on Wednesday includes changes such as what factors courts can consider when determining if Section 2 of the VRA has been violated. The bill also drops a requirement for localities with growing minority populations to get preclearance for changes on offering food or drinks to people waiting in line to vote. The change has been included under the earlier version of the bill’s new requirement for “practice-based” preclearance.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: USA TODAY
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