As we head into spring with a renewal of spirit, we are taking stock on where we are, what we can do better and our collective future. We look for a more just democracy where everyone is included and represented. A democracy for all the people — not just the powerful and wealthy.
Happening right now in Washington, D.C. there is action being taken through legislation to right the wrongs and look to a more just future. The “For the People Act,” HR1, addresses voting, money in politics, as well as ethics and corruption. It is a bold, much-needed package. Our elected officials Rep. Dean Phillips, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Tina Smith have all signed on as co-sponsors in the House, HR1, and Senate, S1, respectively.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, there have been over 250 bills nationwide introduced this year in state legislatures restricting voting access. State Rep. Greg Boe has signed on to one such bill here in Minnesota.
In a recent letter to the editor, “Some highlights from proposed bill,” these 250-plus bills were referenced as a way to reverse election chaos. Let me say this again — voter fraud is not an issue. Voter suppression is the issue, and it disproportionately affects our communities of color. The 2020 election was a free and fair election. As we know our vote is our voice — let all voices be heard and exercise their right!
We need to make voting easier and accessible. HR1 calls for automatic voter registration, same-day registration and restoring voting rights to those with past criminal convictions. It would address partisan gerrymandering by implementing independent redistricting commissions. It would eliminate discriminatory voter ID laws and ban voter purges.
This bill would address money in politics, corruption and ethics with a public funding match on small dollar donations to candidates that would begin to address the imbalance of power between big money donors and the rest of the electorate.
HR1 also requires disclosure of all political spending in order to eliminate dark money, addresses lobbying and conflicts of interest and ensures ethics rules apply to all government officials, including the president. This bill would also start the process to address Citizen’s United.
As with the “American Relief Package,” the “For the People Act” passed in the House with no Republican support. HR1 is now in the Senate, S1, with committee hearings starting this week.
Republicans in the Senate do not want this legislation to pass because as they have stated with more voting rights there will definitely be more democratic wins. That is why eliminating the filibuster is so important. Republicans have used it time and again to stop much needed legislation. Contact our U.S. senators and let them know you support them in working to get this legislation passed.
This transformative package of legislation will advance a more racially equitable, inclusive democracy. Let’s stand up for our democracy and everyone in it!