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Why Democrats Are Reluctantly Making Voter ID Laws a Bargaining Chip

Under Mr. Manchin’s version, states would be allowed to require photo identification, but they would have to define ID broadly — to include student IDs, hunting licenses, conceal-carry gun permits, and any form of government paper that includes the voter’s name, like a utility bill.

If voters cannot provide such ID, they could cast a provisional ballot, subject to signature verification against their voter registration card. Even if the signature cannot be verified, the voter would be given 10 days to return to a voting administrator with a valid ID.

Some Black lawmakers — whom Democratic leaders have looked to for advice on the voting bill — have examined the Manchin proposal and have generally blessed it. Representative Joe Neguse, Democrat of Colorado, said Wednesday that coming to a compromise on individual provisions like the voter ID section was important, but that ultimately, none of it would pass without changes to the Senate’s legislative filibuster.

“For me, the larger debate that is probably more critical is reforming the filibuster,” he said.

Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine, said Wednesday that the next step would be nailing down a compromise that Mr. Manchin will accept, then looking for Republican support. Ms. Klobuchar promised to take her committee on the road next week, when the Senate begins a two-week recess, to try to add political pressure.

And many voting rights and civil rights groups, which have been stalwart supporters of the bill in its entirety, are signaling flexibility on voter ID, reiterating their previous support for such measures within the right confines.

“Basic voter ID has been a part of voting since the beginning, and both Democrats and Republicans agree that people should provide proof of who they are before casting ballots,” Ms. Abrams, the former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia, wrote in her book “Our Time Is Now” last year. “What has changed in recent years is the type of identification required and the difficulty or expense of securing the necessary documents.” She made similar comments last week on CNN.

Election officials have echoed her arguments, saying that any new identification requirements set in a federal voting law should come with dedicated sources of funding to help states provide outreach to voters who may be affected.

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