The For the People Act Will Transform Our Democracy for the Better

Audrey Carroll
February 1, 2021

The For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1) is comprehensive legislation that will make sweeping reforms to restore and protect our democracy.  Making pro-democracy reforms is the first step to making progress on all our other policy issues. NETWORK supports the For the People Act because Catholic Social Justice teaches us that we have a responsibility to participate in our civic society, and this civic duty begins with voting. Protecting the sacred act of voting means ensuring that every eligible voter is able to exercise this right to make their voices heard. No individual or community should be disenfranchised based on their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, or class. Among other critical reforms to strengthen our democracy, The For the People Act would ensure that elections are free, fair, and accessible in every state. Every Members of Congress should be supporting this pro-democracy bill.

H.R.1/S.1 Will:

Protect and Expand Voting Rights

    • H.R.1/S.1 will include voting protections such as automatic and same-day voter registration, prohibiting the purging of eligible voters from registration rolls, restoring voting rights to people with prior felony convictions, standardizing access to early and absentee voting, and prohibiting known voter suppression tactics.

End Partisan Gerrymandering

    • H.R.1/S.1 will ban the practice of partisan gerrymandering and require states to establish independent redistricting commissions with a clear process for public participation in congressional redistricting. Districts that are drawn fairly with public input help ensure a government that reflects and responds to the people rather than the will of politicians.

Prioritize the Will of the People over Profit

    • H.R.1/S.1 will get dark money out of politics by improving transparency in campaign finance and strengthening disclosure for political ads and donors so voters know who is trying to influence them.
    • H.R.1/S.1 will create an alternative campaign finance system by matching small donor contributions. This will allow Americans of all economic means to amplify their voices in our democracy.

Strengthen Ethics Rules

    • H.R.1/S.1 will fortify ethics laws and strengthen enforcement by closing loopholes for lobbyists, requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns, and supporting the oversight of watchdogs to enforce the law.

Protecting our democracy and making our election systems fair and accessible means we can hold our elected officials accountable for progress on key issues of justice such as living wages, health care for all, immigration reforms, racial equity, and more. The Biden Administration has named democracy reform as a first priority and the new Senate leadership has followed the House example by designating the For the People Act as their first legislative priority in the 117th Session.

Passing federal democracy reforms couldn’t be more urgent.  We know that gerrymandered State legislatures across the country are already looking to crack down on voter access based on lies of widespread fraud in the 2020 election cycle.  In addition, the congressional redistricting process, which takes place every ten years, is around the corner and could result in 10 more years of extreme partisanship due to gerrymandering. It will be an uphill battle but we hope to see swift passage of the For the People Act early in the session as a first step to achieve the common good in our society.