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West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on Sunday announced that he intends to oppose a sweeping voting rights bill backed by the majority of his fellow Democrats - that would expand access to voting across the United States.
Manchin, who spoke on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday, is a crucial swing vote in the U.S. Senate, which is currently divided equally between Democrats and Republicans.
MANCHIN: "The bottom line is the fundamental purpose of- of our democracy is the freedom of our elections. If we can't come to an agreement on that, God help us, John. (flash) we must come together on a voting rights bill in a bipartisan way."
The bill would require states to expand mail-in voting - while also lengthening the hours of in-person balloting.Republican-controlled state legislatures in places such as Texas and Georgia have tried to greatly scale back mail-in voting, as former President Donald Trump has continued to make false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
Manchin instead has said he would throw his support behind an alternative voting bill that has received broader bipartisan support - the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Named for the late Congressman John Lewis, the bill would restore the need for certain states and counties to see approval from the federal government before re-drawing voting districts, a legal requirement that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in its landmark 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision.