WASHINGTON (thehill): A group of Senate Democrats unveiled new voting rights legislation on Tuesday in another attempt by the party to pass sweeping changes to federal elections in the face of a GOP filibuster.
The new bill, called the Freedom to Vote Act, was released by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), along with several co-sponsors, including Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Tim Kaine (Va.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Raphael Warnock (Ga.), according to a statement from Klobuchar’s office shared with The Hill.
The legislation builds on a framework proposed earlier this year by Manchin as well as the sweeping For the People Act, which was blocked in June by Senate Republicans.
The new bill, which still faces an uphill battle in the Senate to reach the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster, would implement an array of changes to federal elections, including making Election Day a federal holiday, and implementing an automatic online voter registration system in each state.
The legislation would also mandate that each state offer same-day voter registration at all polling locations by 2024, and calls for a broad range of cards and documents to qualify as proof of identification for in-person voting, according to the statement.
“Following the 2020 elections in which more Americans voted than ever before, we have seen unprecedented attacks on our democracy in states across the country.” Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Rules Committee, said on Tuesday.
“These attacks demand an immediate federal response,” she added.
She went on to note that the new bill has the backing of “the entire voting rights working group, including Senators Manchin and [Jeff] Merkley [(D-Ore.)],” adding that the legislation “will set basic national standards to make sure all Americans can cast their ballots in the way that works best for them, regardless of what zip code they live in.”
Senate Republicans have characterized attempts by Democrats to pass sweeping federal voting rights legislation as partisan attempts to assert control over federal elections.
However, Democrats have continued to defend the need for additional federal protections for voting following the repeated unsupported claims by former President Trump and his allies of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, which has fueled a wave of new restrictions on voting in several GOP-led states.