HR 1: Monumentally Important National Voting Integrity Legislation Information

By Monday, Feb. 22, every single Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives signed on as a sponsor of the “For the People Act of 2021,” HR 1. The bill was pushed by the Democracy Reform Task Force chaired by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) and is scheduled to be heard in the House during the first week of March.

Given the monumental importance of backing a bill that promotes election financing by small donors, protects voting rights, establishes national standards for early voting, and promotes election integrity, The Blue Review here provides information for your study, review and distribution to other voters.

The 2020 election underscored the need for comprehensive, structural democracy reform. Americans across the country were forced in 2020 to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering and a torrent of special-interest dark money just to exercise their vote and their voice in our democracy. H.R. 1, the For the People Act promises to be a transformational anti-corruption and clean elections reform package – in the 117th Congress. See here for H.R. 1 bill text. See here for a simple section-by-section of H.R. 1.

H.R. 1 FACT SHEET 

  • Improve Access –H.R. 1 expands access to the ballot box by taking aim at institutional barriers to voting, including cumbersome voter registration systems, disenfranchisement and limited voting hours. H.R. 1 will create automatic voter registration across the country, ensure that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full voting rights restored, expand early voting and enhance absentee voting, simplify voting by mail, reduce long lines and wait times for voters and modernize America’s voting system.
  • Promote Integrity – H.R. 1 commits Congress to build the record necessary to restore the Voting Rights Act, as embodied by the House-passed H.R. 4. It also commits Congress to deliver full congressional voting rights and self-government for the residents of the District of Columbia, which only statehood can provide, prohibits voter roll purges like those seen in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere and ends partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters.
CLEAN AND FAIR ELECTIONS
  • Ensure Security –H.R. 1 ensures that American elections are decided by American voters, without interference, by enhancing federal support for voting system security, particularly with paper ballots and also by increasing oversight of election system vendors and by requiring the development of a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions.
END THE DOMINANCE OF BIG MONEY IN POLITICS
  • Guarantee Disclosure –H.R. 1 shines a light on dark money in politics by upgrading online political ad disclosure and requiring all organizations involved in political activity to disclose their large donors. H.R. 1 also breaks the so-called ‘nesting-doll’ sham that allows big-money contributors and special interests to hide the true funding source of their political spending.
  • Empower Citizens –H.R. 1 strengthens the political power of hardworking Americans by creating a multiple matching system for small donations. This innovative, 21st-century system of citizen-owned elections will break the stranglehold of special interests on Congress and lay the groundwork for an agenda that meets the needs of the American people. The voluntary multiple matching system will be completely paid for by a new surcharge on corporate law breakers and wealthy tax cheats. That way, the individuals and corporations who break the public trust – like Wells Fargo, which created fake bank accounts for unwitting customers, or Volkswagen, which lied about harmful carbon emissions from its vehicles, or Facebook, which violates Americans’ privacy, or Purdue Pharma, which fueled the opioid crisis – bear the cost of building a more just and equitable democracy. H.R. 1 also reaffirms Congress’ authority to regulate money in politics, pushing back on the Supreme Court’s wrong-headed Citizens United decision.
  • Strengthen Oversight –H.R. 1 ensures that there are cops on the campaign finance beat that will enforce the laws on the books. H.R. 1 tightens rules on super PACs and restructures the Federal Election Commission to break the gridlock and enhance its enforcement mechanisms. It also repeals Mitch McConnell’s riders that prevent government agencies from requiring commonsense disclosure of political spending.
ENSURE PUBLIC SERVANTS WORK FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST
  • Fortify Ethics Law –H.R. 1 breaks the influence economy in Washington and increases accountability by expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements, slowing the revolving door, preventing Members of Congress from serving on corporate boards and requiring presidents to disclose their tax returns.
  • Impose Greater Ethics Enforcement –H.R. 1 gives teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, closing loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents, ensuring watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law and creating a code of ethics for the Supreme Court.