Simply put, democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislators.  “We” are the people.  “We” chose our governing legislators by voting.  H.R.1, For the People Act of 2021, is meant to protect your right to vote.  H.R.1 will prohibit states from putting laws into place that abridge, deny or deprive any citizen’s right to vote.  If I was in congress,  I would vote YES to H.R.1!

“This bill addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government.

Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls.

The bill requires states to establish independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting.

Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including sharing intelligence information with state election officials, supporting states in securing their election systems, developing a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions, establishing in the legislative branch the National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions, and other provisions to improve the cybersecurity of election systems.

Further, the bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, requiring additional disclosure of campaign-related fundraising and spending, requiring additional disclaimers regarding certain political advertising, and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.

The bill addresses ethics in all three branches of government, including by requiring a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices, prohibiting Members of the House from serving on the board of a for-profit entity, and establishing additional conflict-of-interest and ethics provisions for federal employees and the White House.

The bill requires the President, the Vice President, and certain candidates for those offices to disclose 10 years of tax returns.

The right to vote is repeatedly guaranteed in the US Constitution.  Section 1 of the 15th Amendment says, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”  Section 2 provides that “The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” The 19th and 26th Amendments guarantee voting rights for all citizens 18 and older, regardless of gender.  Section 1 of the 24th Amendment says, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.”  Section 2 of provides that “The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

A poll tax is defined as a tax of a fixed amount per person levied on adults, often linked to the right to vote. The Constitution makes it illegal to levy a poll tax.  Adding onerous and unfair steps to voter registration is a modern-day form of a poll tax.  After the 2020 presidential election, at least 63 lawsuits were filed contesting the elections in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  Lawsuits were even filed with the US Supreme Court.  The baseless lawsuits were rejected.  Those who want to reduce the votes that get counted are now introducing legislation at the state level to make it harder to vote. 

For our fellow citizens who are poor, having to track down and pay for the citizenship documents may be an insurmountable obstacle.  If you can’t find your documents and don’t know how to or can’t afford to obtain them, you can’t vote.  Many of our poorest citizens will not know this until they get to their polling place and get turned away.  They should not be denied their right to vote because they are too poor to have the internet or a smart phone or a television. Taking away their right to vote because they can’t afford the luxuries that many of us take for granted is unconstitutional.

The 14th Amendment states that no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.