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HR. 1-Will it Strengthen Our Democracy?
02/11/2019 Stephanie V

H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act, is a top priority of the newly elected Democratic House of Representatives, and with good reason. This bill promises to restore the promise of our democracy through a series of comprehensive voter reform laws that will make voting and participating in government fair and simple for everyone. The demand for these reforms from the public has been there for a long time, and this is the first opportunity in more than a decade to solidify them into law. The idea behind the bill is to break the hold that big money interests have on politics, and to strengthen the ethics of the voting process, so our elected officials know they are serving the people and not themselves.

The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) proposes creating a more responsive government, one that is more representative of the people who elected it, by making it easier to cast ballots, harder for Congress to gerrymander voting districts to their party's favor, changing how political campaigns are funded, and strengthening the security of elections and ethics in government.

There are several key components of H.R. 1, which include:

  • Implementing automatic and same-day voter registration nationwide. With automatic voter registration, people would be automatically registered to vote when they provide personal information at the DMV or other government agency, unless they opt out of it. Same-day voter registration means people can register to vote the same day they cast their ballot.
  • A nationwide rollout of early voting. This is available in some states, and is very popular. Adding evening and weekend voting times in the week or two leading up to an election has increased voter turnout where it is offered. This bill would make sure every state offers it.
  • The designation of independent committees made up of diverse members to re-draw voting districts, to eliminate partisan gerrymandering.
  • Prohibiting paperless voting machines, to increase election security.
  • The creation of citizen-funded elections, by contributing $6 in public funds to every $1 a national candidate raises from private donors. This reduces the influence of big money interests in elections, and with elected officials. This also allows candidates who are not rich to run for office, and to allow candidates to spend more time talking to people on the campaign trail, rather than fundraising.
  • The requirement of the disclosure of tax returns from presidential candidates.
  • The establishment of a code of ethics for the Supreme Court.
  • Enforcement of the ethics rules of the Executive Branch of government.

These are sweeping election reforms that have the potential to make a huge impact on how we vote, and what type of candidates we elect. If you are interested in getting involved with this or other government issues, or wish to discuss them with others, come to Voteopolis.com.

By Stephanie V

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