Mark Kelly backs rules change to pass voting rights legislation

Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat facing reelection in Arizona, announced he will back a rules change to pass voting rights legislation, revealing a schism with his fellow Arizonan, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who has remained steadfast in her opposition to such a change.

In a lengthy statement, Kelly wrote that “protecting the vote-by-mail system used by a majority of Arizonans and getting dark money out of our elections is too important to let fall victim to Washington dysfunction.”
“If campaign finance and voting rights reforms are blocked again this week, I will support the proposed changes to pass them with a majority vote,” Kelly wrote.
    The announcement comes as Democrats are scheduled to vote Wednesday night to advance voting rights legislation that includes major components of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. The legislation is expected to fail because it does not have 10 Republican votes needed to overcome a filibuster. But, Democrats are also expected to move Wednesday on a rules change that would allow Democrats to pass the bill with a simple majority. That too doesn’t have the votes to pass because of opposition from Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia.
      “My year in the Senate has shown me how dysfunctional this place can be, and how that prevents progress on issues that matter to Arizonans,” Kelly wrote. “We’re seeing that now, as voting rights legislation remains blocked while partisan politicians work to undermine Arizona’s successful vote-by-mail system and create more barriers to vote.”
        Wednesday’s vote will mark a pivotal moment in Democrats’ months-long push to advance voting rights, an issue that even President Joe Biden has argued is so crucial to the future of Democracy that it warrants a change in Senate rules. Biden made a trip to Capitol Hill last week to make his pitch in person, but it did little to sway Manchin and Sinema.

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