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Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Tuesday introduced a pared-down voting bill — with support from both progressive and centrist wings of the party — aimed at expanding voter access and countering nationwide Republican-led efforts to alter election laws.

Why it matters: The Freedom to Vote Act is the product of negotiations overseen by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and was built from a framework put forward by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose vote is crucial to Democratic efforts to advance legislation in the chamber.

Yes, but: The measure still needs 60 votes to break the Senate filibuster, leaving Democrats in the same place they’ve been on voting rights for months, writes Axios' Alayna Treene.

  • This package is also losing the battle for attention as it competes with a jam-packed fall congressional schedule that includes the president's dual infrastructure bills, government funding and raising the debt limit. Those measures are considered higher priorities for the Biden administration.

The big picture: The bill includes provisions to make Election Day a public holiday, have same-day voter registration at all polling places by 2024, and ensure at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections.

  • It leaves out some more contentious provisions of the For the People Act, including one that would restructure the Federal Election Commission.
  • The bill was introduced Tuesday by Sens. Tim Kaine and Amy Klobuchar and co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Angus King, Joe Manchin, Jeff Merkley, Alex Padilla, Jon Tester and Raphael Warnock.

What they're saying: "The right to vote is fundamental to our Democracy and the Freedom to Vote Act is a step in the right direction towards protecting that right for every American,” Manchin said in the press release.

  • The bill will "set basic national standards to make sure all Americans can cast their ballots in the way that works best for them, regardless of what zip code they live in," Klobuchar said.

Go deeper

McConnell: Manchin "feels like a man alone" among Democrats

McConnell and Manchin shaking hands ahead of a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Wednesday made an open plea for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to join the Republican Party, after Manchin's announcement earlier in the week that he would not vote for President Biden's signature agenda item.

What he's saying: "I think what Manchin is discovering is that there just aren't any Democrats left in the Senate that are pro-life and terribly concerned about debt and deficit and inflation," McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

19 states enacted voting restrictions this year

Voters cast ballots at a polling location in Arlington, Va. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

States enacted 34 laws this year that add hurdles to the voting process — more than any other year for at least a decade, according to new data released by Brennan Center for Justice.

Why it matters: The surge in mostly Republican voting bills across 19 states follows former President Trump's unfounded claims of election fraud and the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Dec 22, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Minneapolis council member-elect seeks voting rights for noncitizens

Voters cast ballots at the Kenny Elementary School in Minneapolis on Nov. 2. Photo: Christian Monterrosa via AP

An incoming city council member wants to bring New York City's recent move to allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections to Minneapolis.

Driving the news: Council member-elect Jason Chavez told Axios he's in the "beginning steps" of exploring local legislation on the matter.

  • He hopes to introduce a measure after the new council is sworn in next year.