NEWS & ANALYSIS

Protection of Voting Rights Bill vs. Protection of Filibuster: What Will Dems Choose?


Team-left may have to make a very significant decision soon: protecting their precious voting rights bill or protecting the filibuster. 

Republican lawmakers in several states are trying to make the voting process tougher and more secure to bring trust back into the electoral process following the contested 2020 election. 

Team-left essentially wants the opposite.  

The way they responded is through the voting-rights bill that the House passed on Wednesday. 

So, what’s in the bill? Let’s dive in. 

Among other things, the bill would require states to automatically register eligible voters, as well as offer same-day registration. It would limit states’ ability to purge registered voters from their voter rolls, hold at least 15 days of early voting, expand voting by mail and allow ex-convict felons to vote, according to the New York Times.

“Democrats want to use their razor-thin majority not to pass bills to earn voters’ trust, but to ensure they don’t lose more seats in the next election,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on the House floor Tuesday.

But, because of its egregiously partisan contents, the bill likely has no chance of winning the 60 votes in the Senate needed to overcome a filibuster. Indeed, the bill will only pass if all 50 Senate democrats agree to scrap or alter the filibuster. 

Some Democrats have discussed options like lowering the threshold to break a filibuster, or creating a workaround that would allow priority legislation, including a separate John Lewis Voting Rights bill, to be exempt, as reported by the Associated Press. 

The swing votes include Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who have both previously expressed support for the filibuster. 

Team-left is at a fork in the road. They can either overhaul the filibuster and ultimately transform the Senate – meaning both parties would be able to pass more of the legislation they favor – or, they can give up on voting rights. 

It will be interesting to see how they choose to proceed.