Saturday, March 09, 2019

H.R. 1: Creating a real democracy

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (C), Democrat of California, speaks alongside Democratic members of the House about H.R.1, the "For the People Act," at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 4, 2019. - Democrats announced their first piece of legislation to reform voting rights provisions, ethics reforms and a requirement that presidential candidates release 10 years of tax returns. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Daily Kos

From Daily Kos:

On Friday, House Democrats passed the For the People Act, the most far-reaching voting rights legislation to strengthen democracy since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. 

This groundbreaking bill, which was given the symbolically important designation of "HR 1," aims to preserve and expand the right to vote, reform campaign finance laws to deter corruption, and change the way the election system works by banning gerrymandering at the federal level.

‚ÄčThe bill passed exactly along party lines, demonstrating just how hostile national Republicans are to the idea of protecting the right to vote in free and fair elections. That's why it doesn't stand a chance of becoming law so long as Mitch McConnell is in charge of the Senate, since he has vowed not to even bring it up for a vote

However, the legislation's passage underscores how serious Democrats are about protecting our democratic institutions, and it could become law if Democrats gain control of the Senate and presidency in 2020.

As we explained when the bill was introduced, the proposal takes a four-pronged approach to protecting free and fair elections by (1) removing barriers to expand access to voting; (2) securing the integrity of the vote by mandating paper ballots; (3) establishing public financing in House elections to level the playing field; and (4) banning congressional gerrymandering by requiring that every state create a nonpartisan redistricting commission.

Below we list each of the bill's major provisions and a few of its smaller but still important requirements, including measures that were included as amendments to the original bill:

* Automatic voter registration at an array of state agencies
* Same-day voter registration
* Online voter registration
* Allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register so they'll be on the rolls when they turn 18
* Allowing state colleges and universities to serve as registration agencies
* Banning states from purging eligible voters' registration simply for infrequent voting
* An Election Day holiday for federal workers
* Two weeks of in-person early voting, including on Sundays and outside of normal business hours
* Standardized hours within states for opening and closing polling places on Election Day, with exceptions to let cities set longer hours in municipal races
* Prepaid postage on mail ballots
* Allowing voters to turn in their mail ballot in person if they choose
* Requiring states to establish nonpartisan redistricting commissions for congressional redistricting
* Ending prison gerrymandering by counting prisoners at their last address (rather than where they're incarcerated) for the purposes of redistricting
* Ending felony disenfranchisement for those on parole, probation, or post-sentence, and requiring such citizens to be supplied with registration forms and informed their voting rights have been restored
* Expressing support for D.C. statehood (which is the subject of a separate bill)
* Public financing for House campaigns in the form of matching small donations at a six-for-one rate
* Expanded campaign finance disclosure requirements to mitigate Citizens United
* Banning corporations from spending on campaigns unless the corporation has established a process for determining the political will of its shareholders
* Making it a crime to mislead voters with the intention of preventing them from voting...

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