Voting reform bill stalls in US Senate. Alaska senators, like all Republicans, voted no

The East Plaza of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)
The East Plaza of the U.S. Capitol. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

A national voting reform bill stalled in the U.S. Senate Wednesday with Alaska’s senators, like all Republicans, voting against it.

The “Freedom to Vote” bill sets minimum standards for early voting and voting by mail, and it requires new financial disclosure from groups that spend money to influence elections. To boost turnout, it would also make Election Day a federal holiday.

Democrats say the bill is necessary to counter efforts in Republican jurisdictions that they argue will make it harder to vote, particularly for young people, the poor and others who have to move often.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has for years been the only Republican co-sponsor of the Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill to restore parts of a Civil Rights-era voting law that were nullified by Supreme Court decisions.

But Murkowski says the Freedom to Vote bill is partisan and an attempt at micromanaging state elections.

Democratic leaders in the Senate say they aren’t done trying to pass a bill to protect access to the polls.

The procedural vote was 49-51. The bill needed 60 votes to end a filibuster. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., voted against it as a way to preserve his ability to bring the bill back to the floor.

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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