“I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For the People Act,” Manchin said in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
Manchin will not join Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer‘s, D-N.Y., plan to eliminate the filibuster, which prevents most legislation from passing with fewer than 60 votes.
He accused Republicans and Democrats of pursuing partisan election changes.
Instead of the For the People Act, he suggested that both parties could agree to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a still-radical federal takeover of state elections.
If passed the JLVRAA would prevent states from enforcing voter identification laws without congressional approval and also mandate 15 days of early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, automatic voter registration and same-day registration.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., called the bill “a massive federal takeover of elections.”
Manchin wrote that the Democrats have envisioned the For the People Act as a means to consolidate power.
“It has been said by much wiser people than me that absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he wrote. “Well, what I’ve seen during my time in Washington is that every party in power will always want to exercise absolute power, absolutely.”
Manchin also opposes Republican efforts to secure elections by eliminating risky practices that lead to higher levels of fraud, including no-excuse and no-request absentee voting, automatic voter registration, early voting, and ballot harvesting.
Schumer said the Senate will vote on the For the People Act because it “is essential to defending our democracy, reducing the influence of dark money and powerful special interests, and stopping the wave of Republican voter suppression happening in states across the country.”