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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/5/19

House Democrats Hit The Ground Running With HR 1: "For The People" Act

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This was first published in Liberal America and Liberal Nation Rising.

While the mainstream corporate media was busy this week warming up the 2020 presidential beauty-pageant pundit machine, the new Democratic majority of the 116th Congress wasted no time introducing a comprehensive democracy-reform bill intended to strengthen election security, limit gerrymandering, and rewrite campaign-finance laws.

This is the first time in decades either of the major parties placed democracy reform paramount on its priority list.

Sponsor Rep. John Sarbanes' (D-Md.) House Resolution (HR) 1, or the "For The People Act," responds to voters' demands for stronger voting protections, such as automatic voter registration and small-donor public financing of elections.

Several key provisions include providing voters access to automatic and same-day registration; fully restoring the 1965 Voting Rights Act; allowing a two-week early-voting window that includes evenings and weekends; creating a small-donor matching system that provides qualified presidential and congressional candidates $6 in public funds for every $1 raised from small donors; closing federal campaign-disclosure rule loopholes; curtailing foreign funds in U.S. elections; and addressing issues at the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

But that's not all.

The bill intends to also guarantee states use independent redistricting commissions when drawing congressional districts whose members represent diverse communities, establish fair redistricting standards, and mandate better transparency in the redistricting process

It requires states replace paperless voting machines, offer new grants to enhance election security, develop more effective systems for auditing disputed elections, and implement new security requirements for election-system vendors that includes a mandate to report cybersecurity breaches.

And, finally, ethics reform.

HR 1 tightens Executive Branch ethics rules including requiring the release of presidential tax returns, restricting congressional conflicts of interest, and compelling the Supreme Court to institute its own ethics code.

This is what the majority of voters voted for in November. So far, the Democrats are indicating they intend to deliver.

But let's not take this as an indication all is finally right with our republic and we can go back to sleep.

Contact your representative in the House whether she or he is an incumbent or new to the office. When you're finished with that, contact your senators.

If we want them to truly represent our interests, we have an obligation to express to them what those interests are.

Let them know what you think.

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Ted Millar is a writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Straight Forward Poetry, Better Than Starbucks, the Broke Bohemian, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices (more...)

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