RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Despite failing to pass the Senate, North Carolina Democrats said Thursday they still want to try to find a way to make changes to federal voting laws before this year’s election.
A bill that makes wide-ranging changes to how people vote was blocked when all Republicans refused to support it and two Democrats refused to change the rules to allow the bill to pass with a simple majority.
“We’re gonna find a way forward. I just promise you that,” said Rep. David Price (D-NC 4th). “The reason that we’re in this situation we’re in, of course, is that not a single Republican is supporting voting rights.”
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday, calling on Democrats not to support changing the filibuster in order to get the bill passed. That procedural measure requires 60 votes for most legislation to advance.
“And incidentally, the day Republicans change the rules for the filibuster is the day I resign from the Senate,” he said. He did support changes to the filibuster for the purpose of confirming Supreme Court justices, but said he resisted calls by former President Donald Trump to end the filibuster.
“I went home and I was attacked. I’ve had the protesters. I’ve had the censure proposals from county GOPs and state GOPs and I stand by it. And, I’ll stand by it as long as I’m here,” he said.
Tillis and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) both voted against the election bill itself Wednesday as well.
“We need to make it harder to cheat and easier to vote,” Tillis said.
The legislation has been a priority for Democrats as Republican-led state legislatures have passed new voting laws in various states following President Biden’s win in the 2020 election.
“Under the influence of Donald Trump and the efforts of voter subversion in many states, Republicans have become the party of suppressing the vote,” said Rep. Price.
The bill would have made a long list of changes some of which include: automatically registering citizens to vote; allowing mail-in ballots to count if they’re postmarked by Election Day and arrive at election offices within seven days; banning partisan gerrymandering; making Election Day a federal holiday; and allowing people convicted of felonies to vote upon release from prison.
Price said voting reforms remain a priority this year, but it was unclear what could ultimately pass Congress.
Sen. Tillis said he supports changes to the Electoral Count Act, saying it’s been “weaponized” in the last 20 years.
Tillis did not object to the results of the 2020 election saying he was “proud to certify that election” and said the bar should be raised for lawmakers to make objections.