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For the fifth time during the last year, Senate Republicans blocked Democrats on Wednesday from passing sweeping legislation that would roll back GOP efforts to make it harder to vote.
Their justification: there is no GOP effort to make it harder to vote.
“The big lie on the other side is that state legislatures controlled by Republicans are busily at work trying to make it difficult for people to vote,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said this week.
That, of course, is exactly what Republicans have been doing.
Nineteen states passed 34 new laws in 2021 reducing voting access, according to the Brennan Center, which catalogued at least 16 different ways Republicans have sought to restrict voting rights, including making it more difficult to vote by mail and easier to remove voters from the rolls, cutting the number of early voting days, erecting new barriers to voter registration, and reducing the number of polling places.
The debate over voting rights on Wednesday underscored how unrepresentative of the country the Senate has become. The 48 Democrats who supported reforming the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation represented 34 million more Americans than the 52 senators (every Republican plus Manchin and Sinema) who upheld it.
Of course, it’s in McConnell’s interest to deny this. More surprising was how Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who co-wrote the Freedom to Vote Act precisely to counter these GOP voter suppression bills, claimed that no voters would be disenfranchised after he and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) announced they would side with Republicans to block a change to the Senate rules that would have allowed his bill to pass.
“[People say] you’re making it so that they’re not going to be able to vote in the next election,” a reporter queried Manchin on Tuesday.
“The government will stand behind them to make sure they have a right to vote,” Manchin said. “We act like we’re going to obstruct people from voting. That’s…