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GOP filibuster halts Democrats’ signature voting bill

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Democrats' sweeping attempt to rewrite U.S. election and voting law has stalled in the U.S. Senate.

The bill failed in a key test vote Tuesday, blocked by a wall of united Republican opposition.

The measure would bring the largest overhaul of the electoral system in a generation, striking down hurdles to voting that advocates view as the Civil Rights fight of the era.

But Republican leader Mitch McConnell called the bill a "a solution looking for a problem."

The rejection forces majority Democrats to reckon with what comes next in the narrowly divided Senate.

Pressure has been mounting on Democrats to change Senate filibuster rules to enact President Joe Biden's agenda.

Senator Joni Ernst expressed disapproval, saying she holds a special interest in this issue due to her experience serving as the Montgomery County Auditor.

"In Iowa, our county auditors are the commissioners of elections," Ernst said. "And I fully believe that our state and local officials are the ones that should be running our elections systems, not our federal government."

Senator Chuck Grassley also made a statement after voting against the Democrats' bill:

“Our elections are the hallmark of our democracy, and we should strive to increase both participation and integrity in this process. Many states, including Iowa, have enacted new laws aimed at boosting turnout and confidence in our elections. Democrats’ partisan election takeover would trump this progress by fundamentally overriding our election process. It would erode election integrity by banning state voter ID laws, preventing election officials from verifying voter eligibility, politicizing the federal election commission and legalizing ballot trafficking by political operatives, among other provisions.  It would also supplement political campaigns with public dollars that could otherwise go to more pressing needs like rural health services.

“Make no mistake: this bill is not about voter rights, and after pushing it for several years, this bill is obviously not in response to the 2020 election, which had the greatest voter turnout in our history.  This bill would upend our very well-run elections in Iowa and replace them with a new system from Washington. We ought to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.  This bill does not achieve that goal.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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