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Good-Government Groups Press Congress to Pass Democracy Reform

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The For the People Act would prohibit states from striking voters from the rolls solely for failing to vote. (Marg JohnsonVA/Morguefile)
The For the People Act would prohibit states from striking voters from the rolls solely for failing to vote. (Marg JohnsonVA/Morguefile)
January 21, 2021

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- In his inaugural address, President Joe Biden said democracy is fragile.

Now, good-government groups are asking Congress to bolster our system of elections.

The For the People Act, a package of democracy reforms, is the first numbered bill in the newly elected U.S. House and Senate.

Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of the group Public Citizen, said the bill would encourage more people to vote and make campaigns more transparent.

"There are provisions in the legislation like automatic voter registration, things that would make it easier to vote by mail, limit secret corporate political spending," Gilbert outlined.

The bill would require same-day registration and early voting, counteracting restrictions many red states have imposed.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has called the bill a power grab by Democrats, and former President Donald Trump said of similar efforts, "They had things, levels of voting that if you'd ever agreed to it, you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again."

Gilbert noted the bill also would end gerrymandered voting districts, so voters can choose their representatives and not the other way around.

"It would create independent commissions," Gilbert explained. "Taking away the politicization of this process to ensure that lines are drawn by how many people live in a place, not by letting politicians choose their own constituents."

The bill also would institute new ethics rules for the executive branch and Congress, and bolster the security of our elections.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA