Un-PAC’S Statement on Senator Manchin’s Announcement on For the People Act Vote

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Young West Virginians’ futures hang in the balance of Senator Manchin’s decision on S.1. Our generation will remain in the grips of the opioid crisis, crippling student debt, and keep leaving our state for want of better opportunities without renewed faith in our democracy.

Un-PAC, the largest youth, pro-democracy, non-partisan organization by staff size in West Virginia, with 30 youth organizers and hundreds of volunteers across the state, released the following statement on Senator Joe Manchin’s announcement about his vote on the For the People Act.

“Senator Manchin has always been a champion for our democracy. In fact, many of the components of the For The People Act can be found in Senator Manchin’s own legacy, such as when as Governor, he introduced a public financing campaign system for judges. We are grateful to Senator Manchin for having been a co-sponsor of the For The People Act in 2019, and for giving us hope that we may soon see a government that actually works for our generation, rather than for corporate special interests and billionaires that dictate our government now. Unfortunately, the degree to which our democracy has been damaged cannot be addressed simply through voting rights legislation like HR4 alone. Congress has the power, granted by the Constitution, to govern when it comes to matters of federal elections. Federal action is clearly necessary now, as we watch voter suppression happening in our state with bills like SB 565 and dark money groups pouring into West Virginia to spread misinformation about the For The People Act.”

“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.”

“Young people understand that the reasons we haven’t seen action on the problems we face – again, crippling student debt, or the opioid crisis – is because the system is rigged, both by big money and through partisan gerrymandering. Senator Manchin has the power to change this. We insist that democracy reform legislation that Senator Manchin supports must include both campaign finance and anti-gerrymandering reform. Young West Virginians will keep leaving our state as long as corporations and the ultra-wealthy are allowed to have a stranglehold on our politics and our opportunities remain fleeting. Senator Manchin can define his legacy by saving our democracy, and demonstrate that he stands with us, against corruption, and for a truly bipartisan bill with overwhelming bipartisan support from West Virginians, by supporting the For The People Act.”


Un-PAC is a statewide organization activating students and young people to demand long overdue structural democracy reform so that we can actually solve urgent problems. Additional information can be found at www.un-pac.org, or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LetsUnPAC.