House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Sunday that he would support a voting rights bill that includes voter ID requirements to win over centrists like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Yahoo News reports.
Manchin is the only Democrat to publicly oppose the For the People Act, a sweeping voting rights bill the party has pushed for years, but proposed a compromise plan that would scale back the proposal.
Manchin’s offer would include automatic voter registration, make Election Day a federal holiday, require at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections, and ban partisan gerrymandering while requiring voter ID.
Democrats have long opposed voter ID laws though research is mixed on whether they prevent a significant number of people from voting.
Despite previous opposition, former President Barack Obama endorsed the plan as the best hope for Congress to pass voting rights legislation this term.
Clyburn on board:
Clyburn said he would back the voter ID requirement and suggested that Democrats have always been for voter ID laws but not “disproportionate” voter ID laws.
"When I first registered to vote as a 21-year-old – back then, 18-year-olds could not vote – I got a voter registration card and I always present that voter registration card to vote. And that's voter ID," Clyburn said. "We are always for voter ID. We are never for disproportionate voter ID."
"When you tell me that you got to have a photo ID and a photo for a student or activity card is not good but for a hunting license it is good, that's where the rub is," he added.
Clyburn previously called voter ID “suppression”:
Clyburn previously referred to voter ID laws, as well as shuttered polling locations and long lines, as forms of “voter suppression.”
He also previously knocked Manchin’s attempt to win over Republicans with his compromise offer as the GOP pushed voting restrictions across the country.
"I’m insulted when he tells me that it's more important to maintain a relationship with the minority in the U.S. Senate than it is for you to maintain a relationship with the minority of voters in America," Clyburn told HuffPost in April. "That's insulting to me."
Either way, voting rights legislation stands little chance of winning over a significant number of Republicans and stands little chance of passing unless the filibuster is reformed or eliminated.