The U.S. Capitol Building is seen behind barbed wire fences in Washington, U.S., February 5, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

All House Democrats signed onto a sweeping election reform bill Monday that they say will expand voting rights. Republicans accused them of trying to change election rules to benefit themselves.

The For The People Act aims to create automatic voter registration, improve access to the ballot box, amplify the power of small political donors and end partisan gerrymandering. The legislation also tightens rules on Super PACs and restructures the Federal Election Commission to “enhance its enforcement mechanisms.”

“By passing this bill, Congress can ensure that public officials serve the public interest and that government works for the people,” New Democrat Coalition Chair Emeritus Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) said.

Democrats have been divided over parts of the bill in the past. In fact, the American Civil Liberties Union urged lawmakers to vote against the bill in 2019 because of “provisions that unconstitutionally impinge on the free speech rights of American citizens and public interest organizations.” 

Republicans have voiced their dissent during previous attempts to pass the legislation, saying it puts unnecessary and unconstitutional mandates on the election process by forcing states to implement automatic, same-day voter registration. They argued this gave the government too much power and made it easier to commit fraud.

The bill is set to be on the House floor next week.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

The “For the People Act” Would Make the U.S. a Democracy – The Intercept – 2/14/2021
This is appropriate, because the For the People Act is plausibly the most important legislation considered by Congress in decades. It would change the basic structure of U.S. politics, making it far more small-d democratic. The bill makes illegal essentially all of the anti-enfranchisement tactics perfected by the right over the past decades. It then creates a new infrastructure to permanently bolster the influence of regular people.

Tucker: Democrats’ sweeping ‘For The People Act’ would ‘enshrine fraud,’ as lawmakers seek to stifle dissent – Fox News – 1/25/2021
“Under our current loss, states get to decide how much fraud they will tolerate: Florida requires you to show photo identification in order to vote. California just wants you to vote Democrat,” he said. “If H.R. 1 passes, all 50 states will be California — the entire country will have ballot harvesting and mail-in voting. Think about that.” Carlson said that Democrats are essentially taking the exact opposite message from the right-wing riot at the Capitol on January 6.

The GOP Cheat Code to Winning Back the House – The Atlantic – 2/11/2021
H.R. 1 “would matter in a big way” to shape the current redistricting through its provisions establishing clear national standards to govern the line-drawing process, Levitt said. House aides told me that those provisions—including prohibitions on any map that discriminates against minorities or “unduly favors or disfavors a political party”—will be written to take effect immediately. That provides Democrats with a fallback if another key provision of H.R. 1—a requirement that states use independent commissions to draw congressional lines—can’t be put into effect quickly enough to affect the current redistricting, as seems likely.

Can some sort of voting reform pass? – The Washington Post – 2/9/2021
H.R. 1, the For the People Act, attempts to address a myriad of weaknesses in our voting system. [..] There is new urgency for many of those provisions, given the Republicans’ unprecedented effort since the 2020 election to roll back voting access on the misguided theory that less democracy is good for their party (a reaffirmation of the party’s aversion to democracy and dependence on minority rule). […] For example, Republican lawmakers in Arizona are trying to remove voters from its early-voting list, which would prevent them from automatically receiving a mail ballot. Needless to say, the sweeping reform of H.R. 1 currently has no Republican support.

Congress Must Pass the ‘For the People Act’ – Brennan Center for Justice – 1/29/2021
These reforms respond directly to Americans’ desire for real solutions that ensure that each of us can have a voice in the decisions that govern our lives, as evidenced by their passage in many states, often by lopsided bipartisan margins. They are especially critical for communities of color. Racial justice cannot be fully achieved without a system in which all Americans have the means to advocate for themselves and exercise political power.

House to vote on HR 1 government overhaul, policing bill in early March – Roll Call – 2/16/2021
This Congress, the House has Democratic partners to advance their agenda with the party narrowly controlling the Senate and President Joe Biden in the White House. But that makes the vote counting for HR 1 and other party priorities more difficult as the House — where Democrats have a narrow majority with 221 seats — considers how to transform bills written largely for aspirational, messaging purposes into legislation that can become law.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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