The House voted 220-210 on Wednesday to pass the extensive election and anti-corruption bill of Democrats. Expanding voting access has been a top initiative for Democrats for years.
They have once again passed a bill purported at voter reform and campaign finance overturn. Democrats reintroduced the bill in January following its passage in 2019. They banked on the party's narrow majority in the Senate to get it passed through the two chambers this wave.
Election, Anti-Corruption Bill
The "For the People Act" was passed, providing significant reforms to protect the rights of voters, mandate independent redistricting, and increase election security, among others. Also known as HR 1, it was initially introduced and passed in 2019 during the previous Congress and reintroduced by Rep. John Sabranes, D-Md, reported Zox News.
HR 1 is a sweeping ethics, government, and election bill that would contravene state-level Republican efforts to limit voting access. Taking into account that it passed the House amid the last Congress after Democrats won back the majority, it did not manage to advance in the Republican-dominated Senate, reported CNN.
HR 1 is the Democrats' signature anti-corruption and voting rights reform bill for the second time in two years. However, despite their party now holding the majority in the Senate, the bill has a difficult road ahead of it.
Democrats explain that the package is anti-corruption legislation that would expand voting access and increase transparency and accountability in Washington. According to Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland, who spearheaded the effort to pass the legislation, "I don't think the urgency has ever been greater. When you look at what Republicans are doing across the country in statehouses to roll back access to the ballot box, we need to do what we can to establish baseline standards and best practices that allow people to register and vote in America without it being an obstacle course for them. All of these things are designed to restore people's faith in democracy at a time when we can see with our own eyes that things are pretty shaky," reported CBS 58.
The bill aims to diminish the power of big money in politics, extend United States citizens' access to the ballot box, implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other initiatives. Its language calls for a complete overturn of the current system. The system varies broadly by state and which critics say promotes unfair barriers to voting.
The For the People Act comes as states throughout the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump's loss. It enables voters to register securely online or on Election Day and alleviates voter purges from registration records.
Involved in the act is the restoration of voting rights to people with completed felony sentences, mandatory automatic voter registration, and a reversal of state voter ID laws that would enable Americans to make a sworn statement affirming their identity if they are not able to produce an identification card. The 2021 "For the People Act" is a reinstallment of the 2019 bill of the same name.