On Wednesday, House Democrats voted 220-210 to pass H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” which is the most important set of voting and election reforms since the historic Voting Rights Act was adopted in 1965. These reforms, which House Democrats previously passed in 2019, face a challenging path to in the Senate given Democrats’ narrow majority and uncertainty over whether they can overcome a GOP filibuster, but their adoption is critical for preserving American democracy amid unprecedented attack by Republican extremists both in and outside Congress.
H.R. 1 would implement transformative changes to federal elections by (1) removing barriers to expanding access to voting and securing the integrity of the vote; (2) establishing public financing in House elections to level the playing field; and (3) banning congressional gerrymandering by requiring that every state create a nonpartisan redistricting commission subject to nonpartisan redistricting criteria.
Using Congress’ power to regulate Senate and House elections under the Elections Clause and enforce anti-discrimination laws under the 14th Amendment, the bill would:
* Establish automatic voter registration at an array of state agencies;
* Allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register so they’ll be on the rolls when they turn 18;
* Allow state colleges and universities to serve as registration agencies;
* Establish two weeks of in-person early voting, including availability on Sundays and outside of normal business hours;