House Democrats Pass Wide-Ranging Election Reform Bill

Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:23:08PM

Voting rights advocates marching at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.By: Elvert Barnes

House Democrats followed through on one of their biggest campaign promises in 2018 and passed a sweeping election reform bill that takes a crack at campaign finance, ethics, and voting rights reforms in one fell swoop. The bill would transform voting as we know it, notably making election day a national holiday and dramatically expanding early voting nationwide. It also takes a thinly veiled crack at President Trump with its demand that Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates publicly release a minimum of ten years of tax returns.

Attribution: Screenshot from C-Span

The For The People Act, or H.R. 1, is as wide-ranging as it is transformative. One of the most important provisions, at least in my opinion, is turning Election Day into a federal holiday. A society is only as strong as the people who participate in it and having a day set aside where one person, no matter their place in life, is as powerful as anyone else can go a long way towards restoring faith in our system of governance.

Our current way of doing things simply isn't working and this bill would begin the process of making our elections fairer and more transparent, but don't hold your breath for this to become law anytime soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate and there's not much Senate Democrats can do about it. However, this is a very good first step because it shows the American public that the Democratic Party is on their side when it comes to voting rights. It's a moral victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Watch Rep. John Lewis deliver a rousing speech in support of the legislation shortly before it was passed:

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