CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Senator Joe Manchin announced he will not vote in favor of the For the People Act.

The bill addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance and ethics for the three branches of government. It also expands voter registration, voting access and addresses campaign financing.  

Un-PAC is a pro-democracy youth organization in West Virginia. They believe the For the People Act needs to be supported by the senator and passed to protect young people.  

“We feel that Senator Manchin should define bipartisanship based on what his voters and constituents want rather than what federal politics are dictating,” said Shana Gallagher, Un-PAC WV Organizer. “We were deeply, deeply disappointed with senator Manchin’s decision and seriously hope that he will reconsider.” 

Un-PAC organizers outside of Senator Capito’s office on May 11

“We unequivocally support Senator Manchin’s commitment to bipartisanship. As a nonpartisan organization, we agree that enacting legislation that a majority of Americans support is crucial. This is why we are frankly confused as to why Senator Manchin has chosen to let federal-level politics influence his decision on this bill more than what the majority of West Virginians want. We know from poll after poll after poll that an overwhelming majority of West Virginians support the components of the For The People Act: this includes 75% of GOP voters. It is an indication of how broken our democracy is, and how desperately we need to pass the For The People Act, that congressional Republicans are willing to go against what their constituents actually want in order to block this legislation, just because it has been introduced by Democrats. We hope that Senator Manchin will come to agree that bipartisanship should be defined by what actual voters think, rather than by what federal Senators think,” Un-PAC organizers said in a press release.  

Gallagher said if the bill is passed, the organization will most be looking forward to the fact that it would take dark money out of politics. She said that the small dollar matching system would allow younger people to be able to run for office.  

Un-PAC organizers outside of Senator Capito’s office on May 11

“The average senate race cost 15 million dollars,” Gallagher said. “And young people and working people don’t have that kind of money. You either need to be a millionaire or know a bunch of millionaires already to run for office, and win, and so this small dollar matching system, which would not be paid for by taxpayers, it would be paid for by a tax on corporate tax cheats. This would allow young people and working people to run for office and actually incentivize them to spend time with their constituents and go to D.C. with an actual mandate of what to do for working people, rather than the system we have now, which is that these politicians and these candidates spend almost 100% of their time fundraising.” 

The bill was passed in the house in March and is still awaiting to be voted on in the Senate. 

12 News reached out to Senator Joe Manchin for an official statement and haven’t heard back.