Stacey Abrams Backs Joe Manchin’s Voting Rights Compromise

Speaking to CNN, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams says she supports Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-W. Va.) policy demands on voter reform for the Senate to pass the For the People Act.

Manchin’s demands include banning partisan gerrymandering; requiring voter identification with new alternatives, such as a utility bill; mandating at least 15 consecutive days of early voting; and making Election Day a public holiday.

Abrams, who founded Fair Fight Action, a group dedicated to fighting voter suppression, provided a valuable endorsement of Manchin’s demands.

“What Senator Manchin is putting forward are some basic building blocks we need to ensure that democracy is accessible no matter your geography,” Abrams said. “Those provisions that he is setting forth are strong ones that will create a level playing field, will create standards that do not vary from state to state and, I think, will ensure that every American has improved access to the right to vote despite the onslaught of state legislation seeking to restrict access to the right to vote.”

Abrams said Republicans have purposely misconstrued how the Democratic Party feels about voter identification laws.

“No one has ever objected to having to prove who you are to vote. It’s been part of our nation’s history since the inception of voting. What’s been problematic is the type of restrictive I.D. that we’ve seen pop up,” she said.

“This is a first and important step to preserving our democracy,” she concluded. “If Joe Manchin and the U.S. senators who support this legislation are willing to come together on a compromise, then we will make progress.”

You can hear Abrams’s comments in the video below.

Manchin sparked controversy within the Democratic Party’s ranks after it emerged that he would vote against the For the People Act, which is crucial to the Democratic agenda. Manchin had decried it as a “partisan” bill.

Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it.”

Manchin’s remarks earned harsh rebukes from Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.)––who likened him to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell––and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who urged her colleagues in the Senate to pass the legislation against Manchin’s objections.