Joe Manchin proposes a voting reform compromise. Does it stand a chance?

·1 min read

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) isn't going to support sweeping federal voting reform legislation, but on Wednesday he sent a memo to his fellow Senate Democrats outlining key changes he would back. Among them are: expanded early voting, a ban on partisan gerrymandering, and a voter identification requirement that would allow the use of alternatives like utility bills if a voter does not have a government-issued card.

While the voter I.D. requirement could prove to be a sticking point, some folks argued Democrats should seriously consider aligning with the centrist lawmaker's compromise. Chris Warshaw, a political science professor at George Washington University, went so far as to say Democrats "should absolutely take this deal," arguing that several studies suggest "voter ID laws have almost no effect on turnout, election results, or representation" while gerrymandering — which Manchin's proposal would ban — is a "huge threat to our democracy."

Warshaw wasn't alone in his praise for Manchin's proposal, but even those who think Democrats should find Manchin's proposal acceptable were brought back to square one. That's because they still don't believe he would be able to wrangle 10 Republican votes to support it, reinforcing the idea that Manchin's only option is to relent on his opposition to altering the filibuster.

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