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Fri Jun 11, 2021, 02:24 PM

United Mine Workers backs the For the People Act. Will Manchin?


"The fact of the matter is that it is one party that is driving the measures to restrict voting in this country," said a union rep, "and it is the other party that is trying to do something about that."
Joe Manchin left a meeting with American civil-rights leaders Tuesday saying their discussion on the ongoing assault on voting rights—and thus, American democracy itself—at the state level, and the obligation of Congress to respond, was "constructive" and "informative." But he was still against S. 1, the For the People Act, the bill those activists had come to lobby him on. In an op-ed last weekend, the senator said he opposes it on the basis that it's 800 pages(?) and lacks support from Senate Republicans. "I don't think anybody changed positions on that. We're just learning where everybody's coming from," he told reporters, and it can't have come as much of a surprise. Manchin going back to West Virginia to tell folks there he flipped on a major elections bill because of a conversation with Al Sharpton just does not seem, whatever the moral merits, like the kind of politics the senator practices.

But it's not only civil-rights leaders who are interested in the passage of S.1, the Senate companion to H.R. 1, a sweeping piece of legislation that tackles voting rights, gerrymandering, dark money in elections, lobbying, and the Washington influence economy. It also has strong support from some of the nation's largest labor unions, like the AFL-CIO. One of its member unions that might have some particular significance to Manchin is the United Mine Workers of America. On Monday, the day after Manchin hit the Sunday Shows to continue to lay out his case, such as it is, the UMWA issued a statement reiterating the union's support for the bill.

“State Legislatures all over the country are revising election laws to restrict access to voting, especially among minorities, workers and senior citizens,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. ... “Further, the states that are passing these laws are making it possible for state legislatures to overturn election results they do not like, even if local elections boards have certified them,” Roberts said. “These states are putting a highly partisan stamp on this issue and showing no interest in bipartisanship.”

Roberts noted that while the union also supports the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, passage of that legislation by itself will not address many of the ballot access issues that are becoming law in an increasing number of states."...(more)

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