WASHINGTON, D.C.—People For the American Way today applauded the introduction of the Senate For the People Act by Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and all 45 of their colleagues in the Democratic caucus. By its own words, the bill is designed to “expand American’s access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants.”
“Now more than ever, Americans demand real reforms to our democracy to create a political system and government that is responsive to the needs of all people, not just the privileged and powerful,” PFAW Executive Vice President Marge Baker said. “We commend Sens. Udall and Merkley, along with their many colleagues who have signed on as cosponsors, for introducing the Senate For the People Act. Following this legislation’s passage in the House of Representatives, it is critically important that the American people see their elected leaders continuing to work to advance this sweeping, bold package of reforms that can transform American politics for good.”
The For the People Act incorporates a number of reforms designed to reinvigorate our democracy, including:
- Implementing automatic, online, and same-day voter registration nationwide;
- Restating Congress’s commitment to the protections included in the original 1965 Voting Rights Act;
- Encouraging small-donor campaign financing by providing matching federal funds for qualifying donations and updating a similar system for presidential races;
- Stating Congress’s commitment to a constitutional amendment to allow Congress and the states to set reasonable rules for the raising and spending of money in elections;
- Restoring voting rights to citizens with criminal records;
- Banning partisan gerrymandering and implementing independent redistricting commissions;
- Tightening regulations on so-called “dark money” and online ad transparency; and
- Requiring the disclosure of presidential tax returns and strengthening other government ethics and transparency rules.
The House of Representatives approved its version of the For the People Act on March 8, 2019 by a vote of 234 – 193. The Senate must now approve the legislation before it can be signed into law.