West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin predicted that Electoral Count Act reform would “absolutely” pass with Republican votes, CNN reports.
Democrats hoped to pass a sweeping voting rights package but it was repeatedly filibustered by Republicans. The push ultimately died after Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema rejected their party’s proposed changes to the filibuster rule.
Manchin is now working with a group of bipartisan senators on a smaller reform bill that would rewrite the Electoral Count Act – a century-old law whose ambiguity that former President Donald Trump tried to exploit to block the certification of President Joe Biden’s win on January 6.
The bipartisan Senate group is working on a bill to make clear that the vice president’s role in the certification is purely ceremonial, as well as additional legislation to increase protections for election workers.
Manchin predicts passage:
"I think absolutely it'll pass. Now, there will be some people saying it's not enough. There will be some people saying it's more than what we should do or we don't need it. And what we'll do is try to bring them all together and say, 'Listen, this is what we should do because this is what caused the problem. And it's what we can do. So let's do that,'" Manchin told CNN on Sunday.
Prior to the reform, Manchin said Republicans saw "an avenue" to overturn the election and that "when one congressman and one senator can bring a state's authentic count to a halt, it's wrong."
Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski, who is also working on the bill, said that negotiators are trying to take a “Goldilocks approach” to appease senators from both parties.
“We're gonna try to find what's just right," she said. "And it's not going to be just right for everybody, but will it be a step ahead? Will it be important for the country? Yeah."
Murkowski also backed the additional protections for election workers.
"We want to make sure that ... if you're going to be an election worker, if you're going to be there at the polling booth, you don't feel intimidated or threatened or harassed," Murkowski said. "We are sitting down I think, again, as members in good faith to ensure that election integrity across all 50 states moves forward in a positive way."