Angus King: I Would Scrap the Filibuster over Voting Rights

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    Senator Angus King (I-ME) said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he would prefer to go with a simple majority vote and forgo the filibuster rule if it came down to voting rights.

    Anchor Jake Tapper said, “I want to turn to another issue here at home, a voting rights. Senator Joe Manchin wrote this morning saying he will not support the voting rights legislation called the For the People Act. You’ve been working on this in the Senate Rules Committee. Senator Schumer says he’s going to bring it up for a vote this month. There are other Democrats, Democratic state election officials who have concerns about the legislation as written. Do you support the bill as written?”

    King said, “No, I think there are things that can be modified, and Chuck Schumer knows that and Amy Klobuchar. I’ve said that all along. It’s a 900,000-page bill. There are things that need to be negotiated. I think Joe Manchin realizes that. But the guts of it, Jake, is voting rights. It has a lot of other pieces. It has, for example, public financing of elections. It has a lot of other pieces in it. But the important part for me is protecting voting rights, and I think that’s becoming more urgent by the day based upon what’s going on around in the states. There’s an important point here. There are two things going on with voting rights. One is getting a lot of publicity, the other not so much. The publicity is about things like limiting absentee ballots and early voting and all of those kinds of things.”

    “The other piece, though, Jake, that isn’t being talked about, a lot of states are considering changes that the legislature could overturn the results of an election in their state,” he continued. “Remember Raffensperger, to do up in Georgia and said we certified these elections. I’m worried that they’re going to turn that over and say, okay, a Republican legislature could say, you know, we think there was fraud in Fulton County, and therefore we’re going to certify a different set of electors. That’s real danger, and that didn’t happen in ’20, but it could. Voting rights is critical, and I don’t know. I haven’t talked to Joe about it in particular. We got to focus on what the most crucial issue is, which is protecting democracy.”

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    Tapper said, “Just to get a yes or no. It sounds like you are not in a place where you are ready to get rid of the filibuster yet?”

    King said, “Not in general. I’m very reluctant about it. If it comes down to voting rights and the rights of Americans to go to the polls and select their leaders versus the filibuster, I’ll choose democracy. ”

    Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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