One of the biggest boosts to protecting voting rights hit an impenetrable partisan wall Tuesday as Congress stalled one of the most sweeping elections overhaul bills in 50 years.
Senate Republicans blocked the Democrats’ efforts to begin debates on S1, better known as the For The People Act. Sixty votes were needed to bring the legislation to the floor for debate. The vote was 50-50 along party lines.
“Every single Senate Republican just voted against starting debates on legislation to protect Americans’ voting rights,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor shortly after Tuesday night’s vote. “Once again, the Senate Republican minority has launched a partisan blockade of a pressing issue here in the United States Senate. An issue no less fundamental than the right to vote.”
The Republicans oppose the bill because they see it as federal meddling in state-level voting and elections.
Meanwhile, Democrats — including Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock — vowed to keep fighting.
“The fight for voting rights isn’t over,” Warnock (D) tweeted earlier today. “I’m going to keep working every day with my colleagues to ensure every eligible person can make their voice heard in our democracy.”
The comprehensive voting and ethics bill would have curbed voter suppression, created easier access to voter registration and voting, outlawed partisan gerrymandering, overhauled U.S. campaign finance laws and make federal campaign spending more transparent.
Tuesday’s vote was a litmus test of the Democrats’ ability to establish voting reform legislation to override what many see as a wave of voter suppression bills being introduced and enacted nationwide.