HR 1, also known as the “For The People Act,” is sold as a way to get money out of politics and to protect voters, but it contains several poison pills for democracy and opposition parties like the Green Party. Most alarmingly, HR1 quintuples the amount of money Green presidential campaigns will be required to raise to qualify for federal matching funds: from $5,000 in each of 20 states to $25,000 per state.
The Green Party stands opposed to the anti-democracy poison pills in HR 1, a package that is sold as a “voting rights” bill but would actually undermine everyone's right to organize electorally against the parties of War and Wall Street. In a recent Gallup poll, a record 62% of US voters said we need a new major party.
In addition to quintupling the money presidential candidates must raise to access presidential primary public matching funds, other poison pills in HR1 would:
Abolish the general election campaign block grants that parties can access by winning at least 5% of the vote in the previous presidential election. HR1 would eliminate this provision that was created to give a fair shot to alternative parties that demonstrate significant public support
Replace the general election block grants (where each qualified candidate receives a set, lump sum of public funding for campaign expenses) with matching funds through Election Day — a huge step backwards for public campaign finance reform — using the above-mentioned criteria designed to squeeze out alternative parties and independent candidates
Eliminate the limits on donations and expenditures candidates can receive and make — what kind of campaign finance reform is that?
- Inflate the amount of money national party committees can give to candidates from $5000 to $100 million, an astonishing increase of 1999900% that would give party bosses virtually unlimited power to flood elections with big money
HR 1 contains some good provisions to combat voter suppression and enact incremental electoral reforms in the right direction. But democracy depends as much on the right to run for office in elections as the right to vote in elections. As the infamous Boss Tweed said “you can vote for anyone you like, as long I get to pick the candidates!” The anti-democracy poison pills must be removed from HR 1 before it can be passed.
Instead of trying to fool American voters and eliminating alternative party voices, the Green Party calls for real reforms to democratize elections:
The Fair Representation Act, introduced in 2018 and 2019, would enact Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) and multi-member districts for Congressional elections, giving voters more power and more choice.
Individual state governments should enact RCV for their elections, including the presidential election.
- Fully-public campaign finance for every federal, state and local office through the Clean Money/Clean Elections model now used in Arizona and Maine