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Democrats Propose Bold Change with HR 1 – the “For The People Act”

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, republican lawmakers have been aggressively introducing new restrictive voting provisions, and voter suppressive bills across the nation. “We see a wave of legislative attempts to curb the vote, the most significant attempted cutback of voting rights since the Jim Crow era. The Brennan Center has studied these laws for years and last month found 253 bills in 43 states, seven times the rate of four years ago, and the number is even higher right now.”

HR1 can help remedy these damaging voter suppression laws, by expanding voting rights, changing campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limiting partisan gerrymandering, and creating new ethics rules for federal officeholders. HR1 also seeks to expand early voting, create same-day voter registration, and much more.

For those who debate that this legislation goes against state’s rights (a common argument from republicans) this legislation explicitly follows the Constitution. The Elections Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 4, Clause 1) gives Congress the power to set a national standard for the “times, places, and manner” of federal elections.

In a Supreme Court case relating to gerrymandering in 2019, Chief Justice John Roberts referenced the Elections Clause in his published opinion that specifically pointed to this legislation as a constitutionally sound example of Congress’s power to set election law. (P 13, Sec B, P34 Sec D)

According to Common Cause, HR1 will provide for the following improvements and election security protections:

Protecting and expanding voting rights and election security:

  • Automatic voter registration
  • Online voter registration
  • Same day voter registration
  • Make election day a federal holiday
  • Voting rights restoration to people with prior felony convictions
  • Expand early voting and simplify absentee voting
  • Prohibit voter purges that kick eligible voters off the registration rolls
  • Enhance election security with increase support for a paper-based voting system and more oversight over election vendors
  • End partisan gerrymandering by established independent redistricting commissions
  • Prohibit providing false information about the elections process that discourage voting and other deceptive practices

Reduce the influence of big money in our politics:

  • Require secret money organizations that spend money in elections to disclose their donors
  • Upgrade online political spending transparency rules to ensure voters know who is paying for the advertisements they see
  • Create a small donor-focused public financing matching system so candidates for Congress aren’t just reliant on big money donors to fund their campaigns and set their priorities
  • Strengthen oversight rules to ensure those who break our campaign finance laws are held accountable
  • Overhaul the Federal Election Commission to enforce campaign finance law
  • Prohibit the use of shell companies to funnel foreign money in U.S. elections
  • Require government contractors to disclose their political spending

Ensure an ethical government accountable to the people:

  • Slow the revolving door between government officials and lobbyists
  • Expand conflict of interest law
  • Ban members of Congress from serving on corporate boards
  • Require presidents to publicly disclose their tax returns
  • Overhaul the Office of Government Ethics to ensure stronger enforcement of ethics rules
  • Require members of the U.S. Supreme Court abide by a judicial code of ethics

Please contact your elected representatives and tell them you support this legislation and want them to get it passed as soon as possible!

CD2 Cliff Bentz: email, DC- (202) 225-6730, Medford – (541) 776-4646
CD4 Congressman Peter DeFazio: email, DC – (202) 225-6416, Eugene – (541) 465-6732
Senator Jeff Merkley: email, DC – (202) 224-3753, Medford – (541) 608-9102
Senator Ron Wyden: email, DC – (202) 224-5244, Medford – (541) 858-5122

You can find the full text of the bill at this link.

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