X logo

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)

You may opt-out anytime by clicking "unsubscribe" from the newsletter or from your account.

Manchin Compromise on Voting Rights Is Path Forward

Before the Senate adjourned for August recess, a telling series of votes was held. While movement on the bipartisan infrastructure package has many pundits and voters feeling optimistic about the apparent deal-making inclination of the Senate today, some Republicans continue to operate in bad faith surrounding critical discussions around campaign finance and voting reforms — including reforms that are inherently non-partisan in nature.

When brought up for a vote by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Texas Senator Ted Cruz filibustered the Redistricting Reform Act, which would limit partisan gerrymandering, and the DISCLOSE Act, which would require stricter rules on campaign finance disclosure. These are, by far, the most popular provisions of the For the People Act and arguably some of the most important to protecting the future of our democracy.

When Sen. Cruz refused debate and discussion on these reforms that would rid our political system of partisan gerrymandering and dark money, he showed a stark refusal to do what’s right for voters. Maybe his concern is Texas and the fact it is becoming an increasingly purple state.

Luckily, here in West Virginia, we benefit from the thoughtful leadership of Sen. Joe Manchin, who continues to demonstrate that his chief concern is restoring faith in American democracy and the basic concept of “government of the people, by the people and for the people,” as Abraham Lincoln once said.

After a thorough review of the For the People Act, the primary vehicle for democracy reforms under consideration, Sen. Manchin put forward a critical compromise that lawmakers of all stripes could get behind.

Surrounding that compromise, we saw unprecedented energy on voting rights in our state this summer, with grassroots advocates organizing to encourage Sen. Manchin and other lawmakers to finally take up and pass the strongest possible legislation addressing the pressing issues facing our election system.

Sen. Manchin’s compromise is a once-in-a-lifetime voting rights bill that would implement these types of reforms.

When our democracy is stronger, all candidates are better off, even Sen. Cruz.

Although Ted Cruz and others may believe their re-election prospects are at risk in the face of commonsense and equitable voting rights legislation, these essential reforms are far from dead in the water. This is just the beginning of our fight.

Before leaving the floor after Sen. Cruz’s objections, Senate leaders made it clear that they would consider Manchin’s compromise bill after recess in September.

But we cannot let up the momentum that has garnered so much movement on the issue in West Virginia and across the country this summer. It is critical that we pass a comprehensive, commonsense package of reforms once and for all, despite bad actors that seek to limit our voices.

Becky Ceperley is the former national president of the League of Women Voters. Rick Staton is the former majority leader of the West Virginia House of Delegates.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today