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Sherrod Brown On Passing Voting Rights Bill: 'Failure Is Not An Option'

Line outside Franklin County Early Vote Ctr, First day of early voting
Jo Ingles
Line outside Franklin County Early Vote Center.

Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate, including Ohio’s senior senator, are working on legislation they say would improve voting rights around the country. But there's doubt whether the Senate has enough votes to pass the measure.

A voter rights bill has stalled in the Senate with a key opposition vote from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).

But Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) says the voting rights bill is important to counteract state laws being passed in Republican-led statehouses that he says restrict voter rights. 

"When state's try to suppress the vote and state's try to keep people from voting then it's up to Congress to override that and to pass a bill reemphasizing voting rights," Brown says. "That's what we did in the 1960's and 70's when people were so discriminated against because of their race from voting and it's important that we do it again."

Manchin has said he was a piece of legislation that does more to gain bipartisan support among Republican lawmakers.

"Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized. Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage. Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy -- it will destroy it," Manchin wrote in an op-ed for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Brown says he’s optimistic there's still time to come up with a plan that can get enough votes.

"Failure is not an option. We're going to pass something, something strong, something important, something very fair, about voting," Brown says.

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