Democrats Rush to Lock Down Lone Holdout Joe Manchin on Eve of Election Vote

Democrats rushed to secure West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on the eve of a vote for their sweeping federal election reform bill, but the lone holdout has refused to commit to advancing the measure without assurances that his proposals will be included.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will force a procedural vote on the For the People Act Tuesday, which is expected to fail with all Republican members voting against it. Still, Democrats want to send a unified message to contrast against their colleagues' likely unanimous opposition to the bill.

Manchin told reporters Monday evening that he needs assurances that his ideas would be adopted into the bill before he commits to supporting it.

"I hope they make some changes, agree with some changes," he said. "We put out an awful lot of changes that hopefully the country will agree with."

The senator's proposed compromise bill zeroes in on tackling partisan gerrymandering and bolstering early voting, while abandoning other provisions including the regulation of campaign finance systems and ethics rules for candidates.

Joe Manchin holds out on vote eve
Senator Joe Manchin on Monday night declined to reveal whether he would vote for the Democratic For the People bill. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The roughly 800-page H.R.1 legislation passed in the House largely along party lines in March. It contains measures that will make voting easier, make campaign financing more transparent, and improve government ethics.

Democrats describe their expansive proposals as anti-corruption legislation that would ramp up voting rights and counter GOP efforts at the state and local level to limit voting access. Republicans have strongly opposed the bill, calling it a Democratic power grab.

Democratic leaders tried and failed to nail down Manchin's support over the weekend. Schumer said on Sunday, "As we speak, we are working to come up with an agreement to compromise with Joe Manchin."

Manchin reportedly met with President Joe Biden in the White House earlier today to continue election reform talks, during which the president expressed optimism at the Senate's ability to find a way to pass the measure.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin on Monday afternoon revealed he "didn't know" how Manchin would vote but said he hopes the senator will "move forward."

GOP lawmakers across 48 states have introduced nearly 400 bills to restrict voting. Critics allege that GOP members are attempting to make participation in elections harder for Democratic voters. The For the People Act would enforce federal uniform voting laws across the country.

While there's a path to reaching 50 votes, with Manchin, there's no chance of it hitting the 60 votes needed to pass. Several Senate Democrats, including Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and Dianne Feinstein, have indicated opposition to dumping the filibuster to pass the bill without GOP support.

Newsweek reached out to Manchin's office for further comment. This story will be updated with any response.