CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – On Saturday, conservatives, some who were bussed in from neighboring states, rallied outside of the West Virginia Capitol calling on Senator Joe Manchin to vote no on H.R. 1., also known as the For the People Act of 2021.
The house cleared the way for this bill to advance to the Senate Wednesday — even with no republican support.
H.R. 1 seeks to expand American’s access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics and fight corruption. The legislation would implement automatic voter registration as well as same-day and online voter registration. It would also increase transparency in political donations and leave the job of redistricting to independent commissions to prevent gerrymandering.
West Virginia Delegate Josh Holstein (R-Boone) opposes it.
Holstein says he was invited to speak at the rally Saturday where he sang the national anthem by the West Virginia Republican Party and DC-based conservative advocacy group Freedomworks.
“This is the most expansive bill I’ve seen personally, it deals with federalizing elections which I oppose and it deals with several other things as well, including campaign contributions, the limitations that Secretary of States have within their states, also redistricting,” he said.
Signs that read “Joe is our Hero” and “Joe Stay the Course” could be seen at the rally Saturday as conservatives look to Manchin for a needed tie-breaker in the senate.
In the West Virginia legislature, democrats have their own voting reform bills with similarities to H.R.1 like the Election Security, Access, and Modernization Act of 2021 sponsored by Delegate John Doyle (D-Jefferson).
“Some of the people who are opposed to making it easier to vote, not all, but some, are bigoted; they don’t want black or brown people to vote,” said Doyle.
“Others are so consumed by their republican ideology that they think anything they can do to keep democrats from voting is a good idea, and there’s a third group of people who just think others should “earn” the right to vote.”
H.R. 1 now goes to the senate where the senate has 48 democrats, 2 independents, and 50 republicans.