Senate Republicans Block Another Attempt To Advance Voting Rights Law
John Lews (at podium) in 2019 | Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The day after Republicans celebrated a huge win in Virginia, Senate Democrats take an L as their counterpart successfully blocked the advancement of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

Had they been successful, the legislation crafted by the late civil rights activist would replace part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in 2013. It would also aim to restore the Justice Department’s review of changes in election law in states with a history of discrimination.

According to USA Today, the bill didn’t receive the 60 votes needed to overcome a legislative hurdle called a filibuster, preventing the start of debate on the legislation.

Wednesday’s vote, the Guardian notes, “was targeted towards Senator Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who supports the filibuster, showing him that passing voting rights legislation is not possible while the filibuster remains in place.”

With a 50 to 49 vote, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was the only Republican who supported proceeding to debate. She took to the Senate floor prior to the vote, sharing the “reservations” she had on the legislation, and felt that it was best to begin debating the issue at hand.

“I think we should be able to agree to meaningful improvements that will help ensure that all our elections are free, they’re fair and they’re accessible,” Murkowski said.

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Nearly two weeks after Democratic leadership attempted to advance the voting rights legislation, the vote being blocked by Republicans with the filibuster significantly impacted those who are fighting for equal rights to vote.

254 new laws in 45 states have passed, according to an analysis by USA Today, revealing a variety of changes voters may notice and other administrative changes that are happening behind the scenes. In total, about 55 million eligible voters live in states with changes that will give them less access to equal voting opportunities.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ( D-NY), said Tuesday that “across the country, we are witnessing a coordinated assault on the right to vote and even on how elections are conducted, tallied and potentially decided, a true threat to the ultimate foundation of our democracy.”

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