All House Democrats signed onto a sweeping election reform bill Monday that they claim will expand voting rights and “clean up corruption” in politics — as Republicans rip it as a “federal government takeover” and accuse Democrats of trying to change election rules to benefit themselves.
Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., announced Monday that all House Democrats co-sponsored the legislation — H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021.
“House Democrats are united in our steadfast commitment to advance transformational anti-corruption and clean election reforms by swiftly passing H.R. 1,” Sarbanes said in a statement Monday.
“Our historic reform effort will end decades of dysfunction in Washington, return power to the people and build a more just, equitable and prosperous country for all Americans,” he said.
The bill is expected to be considered on the House floor during the first week of March. Republicans have railed against the bill during previous attempts to bring the legislation to a vote, arguing it would give the federal government more power in deciding the people’s representation.
According to Democrats, the bill would “improve access to the ballot box,” by creating an automatic voter registration across the country, and by ensuring that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full voting rights restored. The bill will also expand early voting and enhance absentee voting by simplifying voting by mail.
The bill 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 and “ends partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters.”
Republicans have argued such a decision to advocate for D.C. statehood is a political move to ensure two permanently Democratic U.S. Senate seats in what is an approximately nine-to-one Democrat-to-Republican jurisdiction.
The legislation also “ensures that American elections are decided by American voters,” by enhancing federal support for voting system security, specifically with regard to 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.”
The bill also seeks to “end the dominance of big money in our policies,” and aims to shine “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.
The bill 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,” and…