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Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The Senate failed to advance a new voting rights bill in a 49-51 vote Wednesday, after Republicans successfully filibustered the bill.

Why it matters: The Freedom to Vote Act is the latest attempt by Democrats to counter Republican-led efforts to pass state laws restricting voting access. This marks the third time this year that Republicans have been able to scuttle voting rights legislation, the New York Times noted.

State of play: Backed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the Freedom to Vote Act is less expansive than the Democrats' previous voting rights push, which had failed to get Manchin's support.

Of note: The bill's failure Wednesday could intensify calls from activists and some Democratic lawmakers to abolish the filibuster.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) changed his vote to "nay" at the vote's conclusion and entered a motion to reconsider the vote.

  • “I want to be clear about what just happened on the floor of the Senate. Every single Republican senator blocked this chamber from having a debate — simply a debate — on protecting Americans’ right to vote in free and fair elections," Schumer said in remarks following the vote.

The big picture: The bill included 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.

  • In a statement Wednesday, President Biden urged the Senate to vote in favor of opening debate on the bill, noting, "It is urgent. Democracy — the very soul of America — is at stake."
  • Former President Obama also tweeted his support for the bill Wednesday, saying it would, "strengthen our democracy and give more Americans a voice. That’s why the Senate should do the right thing and protect what so many generations fought so hard to secure."
  • Schumer told reporters Tuesday that the legislation was "a bill that every Senate Democrat is united behind, enthusiastically," according to NPR.

Go deeper

Nov 29, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Many Iowans didn't return to vote after absentee ballots rejected

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At least 206 people in Iowa's two largest counties didn't return to vote in this month's elections after their absentee ballot requests were rejected for missing the state's new deadline, according to data Axios obtained via public record requests.

  • That includes at least 95 voters in Polk County and 111 in Linn County.

Why it matters: Auditors from both counties said many of them could've had a ballot mailed and their vote counted if the law hadn't shortened the request window this year.

  • Results in several elections were razor-thin, so it's possible the votes could've made a difference in the final outcomes, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller said.

Commerce Secretary presses for chips funding

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will call on House lawmakers to pass a bill boosting funding for semiconductor manufacturing during a speech in Detroit on Monday.

Why it matters: A global chip shortage is slowing production of everything from appliances to vehicles. The Senate in June passed a bill that includes $52 billion for domestic semiconductor manufacturing, but the House has yet to act.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Conservative group targets Biden court pick ahead of Mississippi abortion case

A screenshot from an ad targeting Dale Ho. Courtesy: Judicial Crisis Network

A conservative group is targeting Dale Ho, President Biden’s judicial nominee to serve on the Southern District Court of New York, with a six-figure ad buy — launching the first TV campaign against a Biden court pick.

Why it matters: The Supreme Court is set to hear a Mississippi abortion law case on Wednesday, and conservatives and progressives are bracing for the political fallout from additional legal showdowns, as well as a battle over the president’s effort to fill some 70 vacancies throughout the federal judiciary.