House Passes Radical HR1 Election Bill
House Democrats passed sweeping voting and ethics legislation over unanimous Republican opposition, advancing to the Senate what would be the largest overhaul of the U.S. election law in at least a generation.
House Resolution 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process, was approved Wednesday night on a near party-line 220-210 vote.
The bill include provisions to:
- Require states to automatically register eligible voters.
- Create public financing for congressional campaigns.
- Restrict gerrymandering of congressional districts.
- Force disclosure of “dark money” contributions.
- Require at least 15 days of early voting in federal elections.
- Restore voting rights to those who have been convicted of felonies and have completed their sentences.
- Compel Twitter and Facebook to disclose the source of money for political ads on the social media platforms.
- Require the president and vice president, and candidates for those offices, to disclose 10 years of their tax returns.
A proposed amendment to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 was defeated in the House and was not included in the final bill.
The bill aims to counter voting rights safeguards advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s claims of a stolen 2020 election.
It faces an uncertain fate in the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it has little chance of passing without changes to procedural rules that currently allow Republicans to block it.
Republicans insist the bill gives license to unwanted federal interference in states’ authority to conduct their own elections — ultimately benefiting Democrats through higher turnout, most notably among minorities.
“Democrats want to use their razor-thin majority not to pass bills to earn voters’ trust, but to ensure they don’t lose more seats in the next election,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said from the House floor Tuesday.
This bill “will put a stop at the voter suppression that we’re seeing debated right now,” said Democrat Rep. Nikema Williams, a new congresswoman who represents the Georgia district that deceased voting rights champion John Lewis held for years. “This bill is the ‘Good Trouble’ he fought for his entire life.”
The measure has been a priority for Democrats since they won their House majority in 2018. But it has taken on added urgency.