While Iowa Republicans are busy embarrassing themselves in the legislature, a dark shadow may be looming over their anti-democratic plans.
“other state lawmakers are seizing on an energized electorate and persistent interest in democracy reform (which is likewise reflected in Congress). To date, thirty-five states have introduced, pre-filed, or carried over 406 bills to expand voting access (dwarfing the 188 expansive bills that were filed in twenty-nine states as of February 3, 2020).”
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Jeff Merkley announced that the For the People Act, a historic democracy reform bill, will be the first piece of legislation introduced this session in the Senate. The announcement comes after the House reintroduced its version of the bill earlier this month. The Brennan Center helped develop many of the core policies in the For the People Act, including – automatic voter registration, restoring voting rights for people with past criminal convictions, redistricting reform, and small donor public financing.
Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had this comment on the For the People Act:
“It is unprecedented and encouraging that Senate leaders have said they will introduce the For the People Act as the first bill in the session. This responds to two twin crises facing our country: the attack on democracy reflected in the assault on the Capitol, and the demand for racial justice. Throughout the country’s history, the best way to defend democracy is to strengthen democracy. S. 1 would be the most significant democracy reform in more than half a century.
“It incorporates the key measures that are urgently needed. Automatic voter registration to modernize our elections. A national guarantee of free and fair elections without voter suppression. Small donor public financing to curb the corrupting role of big money. An end to partisan gerrymandering. A restoration of ethics throughout government. A commitment to restore the strength of the Voting Rights Act.
“This election showed the passionate commitment to our democracy reflected in the highest voter turnout in over a century, despite the pandemic, voter suppression, and presidential lies. We’ve known for a long time that the democracy we cherish needs renewal and reform. This measure would be sweeping historic legislation. It is especially significant that this proposal now is the first piece of legislation in both chambers of Congress. We urge lawmakers to act swiftly.”
- “How to Fix American Democracy,” Q&A with Wendy Weiser and Daniel Weiner about the For the People Act, Jan. 2021
- “The Supreme Court’s ‘Breathtakingly Radical’ New Approach to Election Law,” op-ed showing the need for the For the People Act, by Wendy Weiser and Daniel Weiner, Politico, Nov. 2020
- “How Congress Can Fix a Slew of Voting Problems,” op-ed about the For the People Act, by Wendy Weiser, Boston Globe, Sept. 2020
- The Case for H.R. 1, Brennan Center for Justice, April 2020
- “Annotated Guide to H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2019,” Brennan Center for Justice, April 2020