During an overnight session, Senator Ted Cruz blocked an effort by Senate Democrats early Wednesday morning to pass enact legislation on federal requirements for elections before the August recess.
Three measures were attempted to be brought up by unanimous consent motion by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, which failed, according to Insider.
Schumer wanted to bring the revised version of the For The People Act, S. 2093, originally S.1, which would crack down on redistricting and gerrymandering, as well as the DISCLOSE Act, which looks to address "dark money" in elections by requiring PACs to disclose donors above a certain amount.
The Senate voted 50-49 to approve a motion to discharge S.1 out of the Senate Rules Committee, moving to to the Senate floor after Cruz objected the measures.
In a speech given to the Senate, Cruz addressed why the powers of redistricting should not be taken out of state legislatures.
"The bill to remove the state legislatures from their constitutionally appointed responsibility of being in charge of redistricting would instead assign that to commissions and ultimately to the federal courts, to unelected federal judges," said Cruz.
"Now, redistricting and gerrymandering can lead to ugly consequences. This us not new. The founders were well aware of the ugly consequences of gerrymandering. Indeed, the very word gerrymander comes from Eldridge Gerry, one of the founders who's district was so contorted it looked like a salamander," Cruz continued.
Cruz warned that "the founders knew that if you give redistricting to elected politicians they will act based on political concerns."
Cruz then addressed that even with the downsides, the current system keeps it accountable to the people.
"The reason the founders did so, is even with those downsides it keeps the process accountable to the people. If you instead hand it over to unelected commissions, or to unelected federal judges, the people are disenfranchised. That is a serious mistake," said Cruz.
Schumer vowed that voting rights "will be the first matter of legislative business" in the Senate following a recess that ends September 13.