US Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a sweeping legislation to overhaul federal elections, defeating Democrats’ efforts to counter a wave of state-level voting restrictions.
Senators voted 50-50 in the evenly split Senate on advancing the For the People Act, failing to meet the threshold of 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster, Xinhua reported.
“All 50 Democrats will vote ‘yes.’ Every one of us wants to start debate … will the Republicans move to proceed or are they unanimously against it?” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the vote.
Meanwhile, Republican senators united against the bill, decrying it as a partisan power grab and a federal overreach into state voting and election systems.
“The Senate is no obstacle to voting laws done the right way … The Senate is only an obstacle when the policy is flawed and the process is rotten. And that’s exactly why this body exists,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
If passed, the legislation would set national voting standards, change the composition of the Federal Election Commission, add new restrictions on congressional redistricting, overhaul campaign finance and include new ethics rules for the president and vice president.
In the wake of the 2020 US presidential election, which witnessed record-high levels of mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. Former US President Donald Trump claimed that massive voter fraud led to his defeat but failed to offer convincible evidence. All the relative lawsuits were dismissed in courts but the argument continues to reverberate in certain conservative circles.
Since then, a number of US states controlled by Republicans have made changes to their voting laws. Democrats slammed these changes, saying the new rules will limit the votes of minority groups.