Stacey Abrams backs Senate Democrats' voting rights compromise

Stacey Abrams gave her blessing on Tuesday to a compromise version of Democrats’ wide-ranging voting rights bill, putting the weight of one of the country’s most influential voting rights activists behind the legislation.

In a statement shared first with The Hill, Abrams said the bill, the Freedom to Vote Act, “takes the necessary steps to protect our democracy" and “sets national standards for voting access for every eligible American regardless of zip code,” adding that the legislation has her “strong support.”

“I am confident the bill will advance the shared objectives Fair Fight Action, civil rights organizations, allies and activists across the country have worked so hard to achieve,” she said, referencing the voting rights organization Abrams established after her unsuccessful 2018 Democratic campaign for Georgia governor.

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“The provisions of this legislation are overwhelmingly supported by the American people across party lines, and Senators must respond to the demands of their constituents by supporting it,” she continued.

The legislation comes as Democrats prepare for a busy fall to-do list that, in addition to voting rights, includes funding the government, raising the debt ceiling and approving a must-pass defense spending bill. It also comes as Republican state lawmakers march forward with a host of new election laws that Democrats say amount to blatant voter suppression.

Democrats’ original voting rights bill, the For the People Act, passed the House in May. But it ran into stiff opposition in the Senate: Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSchumer: 'Goal' is to pass Biden spending bill before Christmas The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back This week: Congress starts year-end legislative sprint MORE (D-W.Va.) voiced his opposition to the legislation, and it was blocked by a Republican filibuster. 

The newest version of the bill, however, was crafted by a group of senators including Manchin, virtually ensuring that it will have the support of all 50 Senate Democrats. Manchin has already been running the compromise bill by Republicans in an effort to wrangle enough GOP votes to break another filibuster.

The compromise legislation trims down parts of the For the People Act to align with the provisions Manchin previously said he would support. Still, it includes sweeping changes to the nation’s elections, including making Election Day a federal holiday, creating mandatory early-voting requirements and implementing automatic voter registration.

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The bill would also set a national standard for voter ID that would allow voters to use a variety of identification cards and documents to meet the requirement. While Abrams has spoken out aggressively against certain strict identification requirements, she’s previously backed basic voter ID requirements that allow people to provide different types of documentation.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharKlobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden renominates Powell as Fed chair MORE (D-Minn.) introduced the compromise bill on Tuesday along with Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLawmakers take aim at 'Grinches' using bots to target consumers during holidays Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills Schumer mourns death of 'amazing' father MORE (D-N.Y.), Manchin and  Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos Senate advances defense bill after delay Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Senators to take up defense bill Wednesday MORE (D-Va.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterFive ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Five Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee Dark money group spent 0M on voter turnout in 2020 MORE (D-Mont.), Angus KingAngus KingAmazon, Facebook, other large firms would pay more under proposed minimum tax, Warren's office says Senators look to defense bill to move cybersecurity measures Energy information chief blames market for high fuel prices MORE (I-Maine), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Lawmakers call on Olympic committee to press China on human rights abuses Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO MORE (D-Ore.), Alex PadillaAlex Padilla91 House Dems call on Senate to expand immigration protections in Biden spending bill Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Historic immigration reform included in House-passed spending bill MORE (D-Calif.), Jon OssoffJon OssoffDemocrats anxious over Abrams silence on Georgia governor bid Perdue on possible run for Georgia governor: 'I'm concerned about the state of our state' Top Senate Democrat calls on attorney general to fire prisons chief MORE (D-Ga.) and Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockDemocrats anxious over Abrams silence on Georgia governor bid No deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline Warnock: 'True justice' is a Black man not having to worry about being killed while jogging MORE (D-Ga.). 

Abrams congratulated Manchin and the rest of the working group on Tuesday, calling on lawmakers to move quickly to approve the bill as well as another piece of voting rights legislation, the John LewisJohn LewisDemocratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Obama, Dave Chappelle nominated in same Grammy category MORE Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would restore key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“I commend Senator Manchin and the other working group members Senators Kaine, King, Klobuchar, Merkley, Padilla, Tester and Warnock along with Leader Schumer and Senator Ossoff for their determination to move these critical protections forward, and I urge the bill’s swift passage along with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” Abrams said.