House approves landmark campaign finance, voting rights, ethics reform bill

House approves landmark campaign finance, voting rights, ethics reform bill

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Photo courtesy of the Brennan Center for Law and Justice at the New York University School of Law

WASHINGTON – The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives Friday approved a landmark campaign finance, voting rights and ethics reform bill.

The measure passed 234-193.

All Democrats voted yes. All Republicans voted no.

Under H.R. 1-For the People Act of 2019, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) would be reduced from 6 to 5 members. Two members would be Democrats and two would be Republican. One member would be unaffiliated.

Election Day would become a federal holiday. Voter registration would become automatic. Sixteen and 17-year-olds would be allowed to pre-register to vote. Ballots could be cast by mail. Felons would be allowed to vote after their sentence is complete.

Super PAC’s would be required to disclose their donors. Congressional districts would be drawn by an independent commission. Candidates for public office would receive public financing via matching funds. The President and Vice President would be required to release ten years worth of tax returns.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the upper chamber will not consider the bill. He has called it the “Democrat Politician Protection Act.”

McConnell and other GOP lawmakers have said the bill is designed to ensure a permanent Democratic majority in Congress. They say it would limit free speech, violate states’ rights and encourage voter fraud.

Democrats counter that the bill would reduce barriers to the ballot box and increase participation among the youth and historically marginalized groups. They say it would reduce the role of corporate money in politics and give those without means more of a say in the electoral process.

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