WASHINGTON — Voting rights supporters are watching President Joe Biden’s address on changing election laws in Atlanta with bated breath, worried that time is running short.
They want to hear a credible plan to send substantial legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk to oppose restrictive voting laws in Republican-led states and protect election integrity in the coming, as former President Donald Trump continues to peddle conspiracy theories about his 2020 setback.
What they’re looking for: A strong defense of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. A plan for getting it to his office. Using his bully pulpit to argue for a change in Senate rules to override a Republican filibuster. He displayed the same amount of commitment in implementing his bipartisan infrastructure bill.
What they don’t want to see are the following: No plan to bring the bills, an abstract argument for maintaining ballot access is made. A speech with no follow-up interaction or pressure on dissenters. Any suggestion that he’d be ready to meddle with the electoral counting standards and call it a win.
Biden’s efforts in the 50-50 Senate would be destined for failure unless they rethink their attitudes and embrace a fundamental revision of filibuster procedures.
Some supporters urge Biden and other Democratic leaders to exert additional pressure, notably on Sinema, by assigning committee assignments or restricting cash for future re-election campaigns. Manchin, who originates from the ruby-red state of West Virginia, is thought to be more resistant to intraparty pressure.
Ezra Levin, the co-founder of Indivisible, hopes Biden’s address marks the start of a “period of more intense commitment” to voting rights.
The executive director of the liberal Hub Project, Arkadi Gerney, urged Biden to state unequivocally that his administration will be “using all of their capital to urge the Senate to update its rules” so that the Freedom to Vote Act can be passed by a majority of votes.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told NBC News on Monday that he’s receptive to new legislation clarifying the role of the vice president in the electoral process.
End Citizens United, a left-leaning PAC, hopes Biden will encourage the Senate to “do whatever it takes to pass these bills and not let politics or procedural concerns stand in the way,” according to Adam Bozzi, a spokesperson for the group.