(Big League Politics) – Arizona Democratic Senator Mark Kelly announced he would support abrogating the Senate’s filibuster to ram through a bill establishing federal control of elections, after refusing to outline his policy positions on one of President Biden’s legislative priorities.
“If campaign finance and voting rights reforms are blocked again this week, I will support the proposed changes to pass them with a majority vote. Protecting the vote-by-mail system used by a majority of Arizonans and getting dark money out of our elections is too important to let fall victim to Washington dysfunction,” Kelly has said of his views on the topic. A simply majority of US Senators can vote to disregard the traditional filibuster on any individual vote, precluding a system which requires legislation to recieve a bipartisan majority of 60 votes to reach the President’s desk.
Other nominally moderate Democrats in the Senate such as Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin oppose the concept of overriding the filibuster to ram through Biden’s agenda. The so-called John Lewis Voting Rights Act would legally enshrine a right to mail-in voting, as well as federalizing control of state and local election systems in a manner favorable to the Democratic Party. Another provision would enable anyone to vote without proper legal identification, requiring only a sworn statement from someone who has known the alleged voter in question for six months. President Biden has likened the legislation’s critics to white supremacists, traitors and domestic terrorists.
Kelly faces a challenging 2022 midterm election, with Republican Blake Masters leading the Arizona GOP primary to face him in the general election.
Democrats had demanded that then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell preserve the traditional legislative filibuster when Republicans had the majority, changing their tune instantly after acquiring a razor-thin majority in 2021.