Democrats have introduced an election reform bill that would federalize the election process administered by the states. 

BILL: H.R. 1: For the People Act of 2021 

This bill will impose unnecessary and unconstitutional mandates on the states. It will implement nationwide the very changes that caused so many problems in the 2020 election. The bill includes mandatory mail ballots, automatic voter registrations, and ballot drop-boxes. The bill will also reduce election security and integrity with rules on the states for cleaning their rolls, qualifying eligible voters, and other restrictions that stop the states from conducting trustworthy and secure elections. 

Rules Committee

We have highlighted some parts of the bill that are concerning. However, we encourage you to check out the resources we have shared below to get more information on the bill and make sure you contact your representatives to let them know how to vote on H.R. 1.

We will be updating the resources as more is written and published on H.R. 1 and will share comments and statements from representatives as they are made public.

Division A–Voting 

The first part of the bill focuses on voting. (This section is from Public Interest Legal Foundation)

  • Prohibits states from requiring more than a signature to verify a person’s eligibility to register to vote. [Sec. 1004]
  • Prohibits states from requiring voter I.D. at the polls- a sworn statement is all that can be required for identification. [Sec. 1903]
  • Forces states to use ballot drop boxes for absentee and early voting and have them available at least 45 days before the election and “during all hours of the day.” [Sec. 1907]
  • Automatically registers to vote all eligible “individuals” (as opposed to “citizens”) whose names and addresses appear in state and federal government databases (this also means that the federal government will decide a person’s domicile and thus their taxing state). States have up to four months to even notify the person that they have been automatically registered. [Sec. 1012]
  • Prohibits contributing agencies that do not ask for citizenship status in their normal course of business from completing any service transactions for the person until he or she either registers to vote or declines to register to vote (previously such agencies were just required to offer a registration form). [Sec. 1013(c)(2)]
  • Prohibits state election officials from using a list of potentially ineligible registrants to challenge the eligibility of a registrant unless that list contains the registrant’s photo, signature or unique identifying information; if not, it is an “unverified match list” and cannot be used. [Sec. 1201(a)-(b)]
  • Requires states to offer Internet voter registration. [Sec. 1001]
  • Allows 16-year-olds to register to vote, even though they cannot vote until age 18. [Sec. 1012, Sec. 1094]. Because Section 1201(c) of the bill makes it illegal for a non-election official to challenge anyone’s eligibility to vote on election day, registering 16 and 17-year-olds effectively ensures that they will vote (because their I.D. is not required to be presented at polling locations, and even if questioned by election officials, they can simply sign a statement attesting that they are eligible to vote).
  • Forces states to “ensure that no individual will be required to wait longer than 30 minutes to cast a ballot at the polling place.” [Sec. 1906(a)(1)(B)]
  • Requires states to allow all registered voters to cast an absentee ballot by mail without needing a reason. [Sec. 1621]
  • Requires states to accept mail in ballots that are postmarked on or before election day but are received up to 10 days after the election. [Sec. 1621(e)]
  • Prohibits criminal prosecution of non-citizens for voting if they were automatically registered or consented to automatic registration. [Sec. 1015]. Because nearly all state agencies are now required to make every applicant for social services either affirmatively agree to automatic registration or affirmatively decline to be automatically registered, any noncitizens who agree to be registered will be immune from criminal liability by doing so. 
  • Requires states to establish a “Select Committee on Redistricting” as a 4-member partisan group of legislators (2-2) who approve the pool of commission candidates to fill the other 9 spots [2414(b)]. It is unclear how tie votes will be decided.

The two other sections of the bill are Division B on campaign finance and Division C on ethics.

Image Source: “Vote Here” by pasa47 is licensed under CC BY 2.0