House Democrats’ top legislative priority — the H.R. 1 For the People Act of 2021 — is 791 pages of big election changes.
The legislation — a wish list of policies voting rights advocates have urged lawmakers to adopt for years — rethinks the entire voting process: how people register to vote, how ballots are cast and how states conduct elections. The goal is to improve access, particularly for voters of color.
The bill would also create public financing systems for campaigns and ethics rules for candidates.
“This is the next great civil rights bill,” said Elizabeth Hira, an attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, who helped craft the bill in her previous job with the House of Representatives.
Voting rights advocates say the legislation could help prevent gerrymandering and restrictive voting laws.
Wendy Weiser, vice president of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center, said H.R. 1 would “thwart” nearly all of the more than 200 restrictive voting proposals her group has identified in 43 states.