- The Washington Times - Monday, June 21, 2021

A coalition of liberal groups on Monday prodded Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to support eliminating the filibuster to pass the Democrats’ voting overhaul bill without any Republican opposition.

That the groups began running the $1.5 million television and digital ad campaign before a vote Tuesday on S. 1 reinforced the assumption that Senate Republicans will block the measure.

Progressives already are moving on to the next fight — trying to ram through the measure by eliminating the filibuster, by which Republicans can block Democratic measures that do not have the support of 10 GOP members.

Ms. Sinema, a moderate, is a co-sponsor of the voting bill. But she is among a number of Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who oppose undoing the filibuster.

The ads are being run by Just Democracy, which describes itself as a “coalition of Black- and Brown-led 40 organizations,” as well as 20 liberal Arizona groups.

“The filibuster has long been a roadblock in the way of democratic initiatives, it’s time to end the filibuster and pass S. 1,” Patrick Morales, legislative director of the Arizona Students’ Association, said in a press release. “The rise of voter suppression bills in Arizona and throughout our nation only highlights the need to pass S. 1, and to do so by getting rid of outdated Jim Crow roadblocks like the filibuster.”

The ad pictures a Black pastor, a Black activist and an American Indian activist. Referring to Ms. Sinema, it says, “You said that voting rights are fundamental to our democracy. These words are meaningless unless you back that up.”

Referring to the filibuster, the ad continues: “Instead of fighting for us, you are doing their dirty work — letting a Jim Crow relic keep us down.”

Under the Democratic bill, the federal government would override a number of changes in voting laws passed by Republican state legislatures in the midst of unproven claims that Democrats stole last year’s election from former President Donald Trump.

Some of the changes made in state laws include requiring more identification to request absentee ballots or vote in person, reducing the time to request vote-by-mail ballots and limiting the number of places where ballots can be dropped off. State lawmakers said the changes were needed to reduce the possibility of voter fraud and restore trust in elections.

But congressional Democrats said the changes will make it harder for people of color to vote and accused Republicans of trying to suppress minority voting.

The Senate bill, which has passed the House, would bar states from further restricting requests for and use of absentee ballots. It would automatically register to vote people who supply their information to a state to get driver’s licenses. It also would allow people without photo IDs to vote in person by submitting a sworn statement about their identity.

Congressional Republicans call the bill a Democratic “power grab,” saying the federal government would usurp the rights of states to determine how to hold their elections.

Democrats haven’t been able to get all of their members behind the bill. Mr. Manchin has said he does not support the measure, in part, because it has no Republican support. He proposed a compromise to try to win bipartisan support. Other Democrats reportedly have problems with the bill and will vote for it only because they know it will not pass.

But top Senate Republican leaders shot down the compromise. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said no Republican would support Mr. Manchin’s compromise, setting up the likely failure of the bill.

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