W.Va’s Voting Rights Advocates Seek to Change Manchin’s Mind | News, Sports, Jobs
WHEELING – West Virginia advocates passing the “For the people” Voting Rights Law say they will continue to try to convince US Senator Joe Manchin why the bill is needed – and they might even appeal to his ego.
Advocates spoke in a video call on Wednesday organized by the Campaign Committee for Progressive Change.
Manchin, DW.Va., published an op-ed last week expressing his opposition to the “For the People to Act” currently before the Senate. The legislation addresses improvements in voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance and ethics for all three branches of government.
Manchin called the act “too partisan” and declared “The voting rights legislation must be the result of Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a way forward, otherwise we risk dividing and further destroying the republic we have sworn to protect and defend as ‘elected. “
Manchin instead supports John Lewis’s voting rights law. Among other things, the bill would require states to pre-authorize certain changes to their electoral laws with the federal government.
Wednesday’s video call came a day after Manchin met with civil rights leaders to discuss his position and hear their thoughts on the issue.
“I am really worried. It seems that no one can reach Senator Manchin ”, said Reverend David Fryson of the New First Baptist Church in Kanawha City, who is also an attorney and diversity professional. “He met with civil rights leaders and walked away saying the same thing.
“He has no criticism to make on the bill itself. His problem is that Republicans don’t vote for it. It’s crazy like that.
Lawyers have tried to appeal to Manchin’s intelligence, but he knows what’s in the bill, according to Fryson.
“We tried to appeal to his morals, and he didn’t respond”, he said. “He has an ego. The way we push him is probably through his ego.
Fryson believes Manchin is concerned about how his legacy will be viewed in the future.
“Does Senator Manchin want his name listed with (former Governor of Alabama) George Wallace and those who oppose the expansion of democracy?” He asked. “He has a chance to score.
“Will he be known as that man from West Virginia who had the opportunity to defend democracy and he did?” Or will schoolchildren read about him in the future and think, “What was he thinking? “
Manchin’s office said its stance on the people’s voting rights law had not changed this week since the opinion piece was published or the meeting with civil rights activists on Tuesday.
Lynette Maselli of Fix Our Senate-WV said state legislatures continue to revise their election laws and all too often these changes hurt voters because of their ethnicity or neighborhood.
“They (state legislatures) take us back to the days when millions of people were disenfranchised because of who they are and where they live,” she said. “States are passing laws allowing them to overturn election results even when certified by a county council.”
Former West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said she was both disappointed and disheartened by Manchin’s stance on the For The People Act.
She believes the public at large is being misled about the details of the legislation.
“There is intentionally misleading – that’s what is so hurtful about it”, she said. “People are making things up because they don’t want this law.
Tennant said the legislation would not result in a federal election takeover, and election clerks she spoke to said it could be implemented.
The bill is also not an unfunded mandate from the federal government, she said. Money is available to states to ensure election security.