253. That’s how many voter suppression bills have been introduced by state lawmakers so far this year.1 Republican lawmakers across the country are unleashing restrictive, anti-democratic bills to combat the massive election turnout we witnessed in 2020. They’re targeting voters — especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) voters — and the voting methods adopted to open access during COVID-19. These are the same voters who turned out in record numbers in key states like Georgia and Arizona, and who are especially impacted by COVID-19. To put it simply — these bills are discriminatory, anti-democratic, and will further erode our democracy if we don’t act now. That’s why we’re asking you to call your representative now and demand they vote YES on the H.R. 1.
Our moment of Democratic opportunity
Take the historic, record-shattering turnout in the Georgia runoff elections that determined control of the Senate.2 Nearly 60% of eligible voters cast a ballot — that’s more than double the previous record for Georgia’s highest-turnout runoff. Black voters made up over half of those votes due in large part to the dedication and vision of organizers in the state. In response, there have now been dozens of restrictive and overtly discriminatory measures introduced by Republicans in the Georgia state legislature related to voting and election procedures.3 Grassroots organizers bend over backward registering and encouraging voters to see their power, but these bills will continue to be introduced so long as there’s no federal oversight. We can’t allow those in power to continue manipulating our democracy in their favor — we need sustained, structural safety measures against voter suppression.
Next week, the House of Representatives is taking up the For the People Act, H.R. 1, which will expand voting rights and election security measures, public funding for elections, and fight racial and partisan gerrymandering at all levels. This piece of legislation is critical to stopping these anti-democratic bills from stripping away the right to vote from large swathes of the electorate. We must bolster our democracy and ensure it truly represents all people, for the first time in our history. This is our moment of Democratic opportunity, and we need you to call your representative now and demand they vote YES on H.R. 1 when it reaches the floor. Then, keep reading for more details on H.R. 1, and how you can keep up the pressure on your members of Congress in the coming weeks.
What’s included in H.R. 1?
With every attempt to subvert our democratic norms and steal the 2020 election, Donald Trump and his cronies highlighted the cracks in our democratic system — the very ones that allowed Trump to come to power in the first place. This year, Democrats signaled that their number one priority is structural democracy reform by introducing the For the People Act, H.R. 1. This bill is a crucial first step toward making our democracy truly representative of the people as it targets voter suppression tactics, gerrymandering, money in politics, corruption, and more. Here are the key ways that H.R. 1 will strengthen our democracy:
- Increase voter empowerment and access by ensuring that everyone is included and represented in our democracy. These measures include things like restoring the Voting Rights Act, protecting against improper purging of voter rolls, and more.
- Limit money and its influence in politics with measures like starting the process of overturning Citizens United, eliminating dark money and its influence, and empowering the Federal Election Commission to truly enforce campaign finance law.
- Combat corruption and strengthen ethics policies in government with measures like ensuring all ethics rules apply to all government officials (including the President) and locking the “revolving door” of lobbyists and government officials.
As we’ve seen time and time again, many of the worst structural flaws in our system were intentionally created to exclude and limit who can truly be American. Our political system is rigged to favor Republicans, as we saw during the 2020 election, and now they’re aggressively working to make it worse. This is our “once in a generation chance to unrig the system” that Republicans built to work against people of color, workers, immigrants, low-income families, and more.4 It starts with pressuring your representative in the House to pass H.R. 1. Call today and keep calling.
1. Voting Laws Roundup Appendix: February 2021
2. How Democrats Won The Georgia Runoffs
3. Republicans Are Taking Their Voter Suppression Efforts to New Extremes
4. The Decision that will Decide the Next Decade