House Passes Brownley Bills to Strengthen Democracy as Part of H.R. 1

Statement

Date: March 8, 2019
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Elections

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which includes two bills authored by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) to strengthen our democracy by ending partisan gerrymandering and requiring same-day voter registration.

"Today is a major win for our democracy and for the American people," said Congresswoman Brownley. "We are one step closer to passing transformative legislation to fight special interests, take money out of politics, and finally put the power of our democracy back in the hands of the people."

"I am especially pleased that this legislation includes two bills I authored to end partisan gerrymandering and fix the redistricting process. In Congress, I will continue to work to return our government to one that is of, by, and for the people once again."

H.R. 1 includes Brownley's first bill in the 116th Congress, the Same Day Registration Act (H.R. 93), which requires all states to allow same-day voter registration for federal elections, just as there is in California. Same-day voter registration lowers barriers to voting, which has proven to increase voter participation. High participation in our democracy translates to representation that better reflects the needs and challenges of the people.

H.R. 1 also includes legislation Brownley co-authored with Reps. Lofgren and Lowenthal to end partisan gerrymandering by requiring states to adopt a citizen redistricting commission, as California has done. This will help make politicians more accountable to the voters they are elected to represent.

H.R. 1 makes critical reforms across three key areas:

Voting Rights

Improve Access -- H.R. 1 expands access to the ballot box by taking aim at key institutional barriers to voting, such as burdensome registration systems, limited voting hours, and many other roadblocks. H.R. 1 creates automatic voter registration across the country, ensures that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full rights restored, expands voting by mail and early voting, and modernizes the U.S. voting system.
Promote Integrity -- H.R. 1 fights back against Republicans' assault on voting rights by committing Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act; prohibiting voter roll purges like those seen in Ohio, Georgia, and elsewhere; and ensuring that discriminatory voter ID laws do not prevent American citizens from exercising their rights. H.R. 1 also ends partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters and lets American voters instead choose their elected officials.
Ensure Security -- H.R. 1 promises that American elections are to be decided by American voters without interference from foreign entities. The bill enhances federal support for voting system security, particularly paper ballots, and increases oversight over election vendors.

Campaign Finance

Guarantee Disclosure -- H.R. 1 shines a light on dark money in politics by requiring any organization involved in political activity to disclose its large donors, which will break the nesting-doll system that allows big-money contributors and special interests to hide their spending in networks of so-called "social welfare" organizations.
Empower Citizens -- H.R. 1 levels the political playing field for everyday Americans, empowering individuals with a multiple matching system for small donations and allowing the American people to exercise their due influence in a post-Citizens United world, while reaffirming that Congress should have the authority to regulate money in politics. The new system of citizen-owned elections will break special interests' stranglehold on politics and enable Congress to advance an agenda that serves the American people.

Ethics and Accountability

Fortify Ethics Law -- H.R. 1 breaks the influence economy in Washington and increases accountability by expanding conflict of interest laws and divestment requirements, slowing the revolving door, preventing Members of Congress from serving on corporate boards, and requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.
Impose Greater Ethics Enforcement -- H.R. 1 gives teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, closing registration loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents, ensuring watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law and creating a code of ethics for the Supreme Court.


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