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H.R.1: For The People Act by Robin Wedertz

Introduced to the House of Representatives on January 4, 2021 by John Sarbanes (D-MD) as “H.R. 1,” the For The People Act was cosponsored by 222 members of the 117thUnited States Congress. The Act was considered by the House Judiciary Committee, and passed the House of Representatives on March 3, 2021. The bill passed to the Senate on March 11, 2021, at which point, the Senate Rules Committee reached a deadlock. The bill was summarized by the Congressional Research Service as follows.


“This bill addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government. Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls. The bill requires states to establish independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting.


Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including sharing intelligence information with state election officials, supporting states in securing their election systems, developing a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions, establishing in the legislative branch the National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions, and other provisions to improve the cybersecurity of election systems.


Further, the bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, requiring additional disclosure of campaign-related fundraising and spending, requiring additional disclaimers regarding certain political advertising, and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.


The bill addresses ethics in all three branches of government, including by requiring a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices, prohibiting Members of the House from serving on the board of a for-profit entity, and establishing additional conflict-of-interest and ethics provisions for federal employees and the White House.


The bill requires the President, the Vice President, and certain candidates for those offices to disclose 10 years of tax returns.”


At this point in history, we can not afford to allow politicians to run amok. We can not allow people in positions that represent us, to act in a manner that is detrimental to Democracy. Preventing individual states from creating restrictive rules and boundaries in the path of our voting rights is the ultimate bipartisan issue. Ensuring the right to vote is fundamental to the structure of our country, and critical to the future of our democracy. Thus, voting must be easily available, and secure, so we can trust our voting system to truly speak the will of the people.


We The People have a solemn duty to hold our representatives accountable; to know who is paying to sway their votes. We must hold our Federal Representation to the highest standards of accountability and transparency. The majority of the titles in the For The People Act are a direct reflection of our current lack of financial and ethical oversight. Enacting campaign and personal finance reporting rules would clear away masses of cloudy information, and lay bare the special interests of our candidates, allowing voters to clearly see who has lent financial support that has been accepted by the candidate, and make informed decisions about what they want to support with their vote. At the highest level, the President and Vice President must answer to the people. Just as we must prove ourselves financially responsible in order to secure a loan to purchase a home or vehicle, so should our leaders present proof of their personal financial responsibility in order to sit in our White House and take the wheel of our country.


The League of Women Voters strongly supports this bill. LWV CEO Virginia Kase said, “The For the WAVE LENGTHS 9 September 1, 2021 People Act is the democracy reform bill the American people want and deserve. This legislation will put power back into the hands of American voters by making voting easier and more accessible and by modernizing future elections.”


We in Oregon have a majority Democratic representation, all of whom support the For The People Act. Let them know if you support the For The People Act, or tell them you don’t and why. After all, you have the right to have your voice heard by your duly elected officials! Share your view, and encourage all fellow voting Americans to reach out and have their voice heard, as well. Our Democracy is only as strong as our willingness to defend it. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/ [2] https://www.lwvor.org/post/support-the-for-the-people-act [3] https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/OR