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Follow the voting rights debate live: Analysis and updates

Democratic senators on Wednesday called for the adoption of far-reaching federal suffrage protections and painted state measures imposed by Republican lawmakers restricting access to the ballot box as a threat to democracy so serious that long-standing filibuster rules should be changed to secure their adoption.

Republicans were equally passionate in their condemnations of the democratic effort, accusing their opponents of making a false crisis to justify a federal takeover of local voting rules to distort the results of party-political gain.

Today's drama would probably not change the results of the polls scheduled for Wednesday night. Around. At 6.30pm, the Senate was to vote to interrupt the debate on legislation, which Democrats say is an urgent need to address widespread efforts to suppress ballots passed by Republicans at the state level. Even if any senator holding the caucus with the Democrats supports it, a Republican filibuster will block the voting rights measure from reaching a final vote.

Democratic leaders then plan to move to change Senate filibuster rules without Republican consent. It was also about to be blocked as Democratic Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona join all 50 Republicans in voting it down, denying their party the majority it needs to make it the change.

Senators spend the day debating the bill, which Parliament approved last week, arguing over the very nature of their institution when they clash over minority rights to oppose legislation, and about the filibuster - a historic Senate tool for asserting them. must be weakened.

"Nothing less than the very future of our democracy is at stake, and we must act or risk losing what so many Americans have fought for - and died for - for nearly 250 years," said Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat from Michigan.

Although they brought up the legislation on Tuesday using a procedural shortcut that avoided an initial Republican blockade, the Democrats far lacked the votes needed to win its passage over the United GOP opposition and lacked the votes needed in their party to amend Senate rules and adopt it unilaterally.

Republicans were firm in their opposition, saying it was the Democratic Party that sought to influence the election results for party political gain. In Washington, Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, said, "Every edge is sought, and every edge secured is being used to keep your party in power."

Still, Democratic leaders announced they would launch a long-running effort to establish a filibuster exception for voting rights that require opponents to keep the word out for an old-fashioned "talking filibuster" that would allow a final senator of 51 people. majority vote - instead of the 60 currently needed - to move forward after all senators have exhausted their ability to speak.

"If the Senate can not protect the right to vote, which is the cornerstone of our democracy, then the rules of the Senate must be reformed," Mr Schumer said.

The Democrats' plan, which was unveiled at a private party meeting Tuesday night, would still require a party vote to change the rules, meaning it cannot succeed at this point given opposition from at least two Democrats.

No Republican currently supports the suffrage measure, which combines two far-reaching bills aimed at protecting access to the ballot box, leaving Democrats 10 votes short in the equally divided Senate.

When the debate started, many Democrats were sitting at their mahogany desks on the floor, a demonstration of power that they planned to continue throughout the day to what they consider a historic debate. Republicans, on the other hand, were mostly absent.

When they emerged, it was to stifle legislation and the Democrats' portrayal of its opponents as bigots who tried to enable voting restrictions aimed at colored people.

"I'm not a racist," said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.

The stalemate has led to intensified calls to unilaterally change the filibuster rules so Democrats can bullet Republicans' objections. But at least two Democrats, Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, have made it clear that they will not do so even if they support the legislation.

Republicans pushed back strongly on this effort. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, reiterated his threat that Republicans would use his power to virtually shut down the Senate if Democrats successfully carry out what is known as the "nuclear option" and stop the filibuster.

"The Senate in the nuclear winter would not be a hospitable place," he warned.

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