(AP)—University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and other sports figures with ties to West Virginia are urging Sen. Joe Manchin to support sweeping legislation to protect the right to vote.

The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act would make Election Day a national holiday and require access to early voting and mail-in ballots.

Voting advocates nationwide have warned that Republican-led states have passed laws making it more difficult for Black Americans and others to vote.

A letter signed by Saban, NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West, Oliver Luck, Darryl Talley, and Paul Tagliabue said the principles that help ensure fair and free elections are “now under intentional and unprecedented challenge.”

When asked for comment, Senator Manchin’s team pointed out that the letter originally contained the following footnote:

“Coach Saban is not in favor of getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate. He believes this will destroy the checks and balances we must have in our Democracy. The others signing this letter take no position on this aspect of Senate policies.

Manchin’s office sent 13 News the following statement:

“I wholeheartedly agree with the coaches that, ‘Our democracy is at its best when all Americans are encouraged to participate.’ That’s why I led voter registration efforts as West Virginia’s Secretary of State and continue to look for a bipartisan path forward to protect the right to vote for every eligible American. Coach Saban is right, you cannot throw the filibuster out and expect the process to work better.”