Voting rights bill struggles through Congress

The Freedom to Vote Act, a voting rights bill, has been stalled in the Senate as a result of 52 senators blocking the bill. The bill would primarily be against the restrictions on mail-in voting and increased voter ID laws Republicans had recently advocated for.

Changes made to the voting process during the 2020 presidential election to accommodate for the pandemic left Senate Democrats advocating for change. The pandemic may have discouraged many citizens to vote in person, but due to mail in voting a record high of 66.8 percent of Americans voting in the election.

To potentially gain more votes, Senate Democrats believed they would need to form a narrower bill in order to surpass the 60-vote filibuster put in place. However, with a filibuster in the Senate, they would need around 10 more votes to pass the bill. Democrats have pushed several bills in response to state legislatures’ restrictive voting bills. Despite having enough votes to pass, the filibuster leaves Democrats in a complicated situation.

Other Democrats are working alongside Republicans on a new legislation pushing for an overhaul against the Electoral Count Act, the law that former President Donald Trump sought to exploit during his run for a second term back in 2020. Those Senators have now expanded their legislation to target other measures of interference in elections.
Democratic Representative Jim Clyburn hopes for the Senate to act in a favorable way, allowing the bill to pass. “We want the Senate to act today in a favorable way, but if they don’t, we ain’t giving up. I am too young to give up.” For this reason, Senate Republicans provided the option for a narrower bill, an option Senate Democrats declined.