Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Manchin's Version of Voting Rights

I don't think I've commented on the whole Joe Manchin-filibuster-voting rights thing, have I? Aside from siding with the people who wish he would somehow miraculously change his mind (hah), I've been paying some attention to the list of things Manchin supposedly does support on voting rights and I've been thinking that getting his list passed would be better than nothing.

Ari Berman wrote up a short list of what Manchin does and doesn't support:

Manchin supports making Election Day a holiday, 15 days early voting, ban on partisan gerrymandering, automatic voter registration, disclosure of dark money as part of revised For the People Act.

Some really important provisions of For the People Act Manchin not supporting:

- Election Day registration
- No-excuse absentee voting
- Public financing of elections
- Restoration of voting rights to people with past felony convictions
- Preventing discriminatory voter purges

That's quite a list of things Manchin doesn't support. I can imagine the paranoid reasons he might have for not wanting Election Day registration (though many states, including Minnesota, have disproven the paranoid scenarios), restoration of voting rights to past felons, and I guess public financing. But no-excuse absentee voting? What? And, as one of the respondents to Ari Berman said,

Why would anyone oppose preventing discriminatory purges?! Cripes.

One other major omission: I don't see anything in there about population-proportional access to balloting locations or ballot drop boxes, both of which seem pretty key to me when you think of the long lines of people waiting to vote in some places and the way drop boxes were being removed willy nilly in 2020.

But yes, implementing the things Manchin supports would be better than nothing, since nothing is... nothing. 

His changes to the John Lewis Voting Rights Act are basically offensive. They wipe out its purpose to reinstitute preclearance, the thing that was destroyed by John Roberts in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, based on Roberts' assessment that racism doesn't exist anymore, even though the Voting Rights Act had been renewed by an overwhelming majority of Congress (House 390-33, Senate 98-0) seven years earlier.

And he brings back voter ID (though with access to alternatives like utility bills... the devil is in the details on things like that, plus it's just unnecessary).

Here's the text of Manchin's version of the two bills:

Like I said, better than nothing is better, I guess, since it's not nothing. But it's not what we need in the midst of this Republican threat to democracy.


Michael Leddy said...

Did you see the Intercept story about Manchin’s dealmaking?

I can’t stand Joe Manchin.

Daughter Number Three said...

I had seen Twitter comments and summaries about it, but hadn't read it. I also so commentary saying he's fronting for a group of other Democrats who don't want to be identified who agree with him. I tend to agree with someone (I think maybe it was Dave Roberts) who said Manchin just isn't too bright.