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
With S1 going to markup before the U.S. Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday, May 11, the inherent hypocrisy behind HR1/S1 - the ‘For the People Act’ must be called out. But it won't happen as part of the public hearing process, because there won’t be any one present that will raise it.
From the Democratic Party side, the Rules Committee hearing is expected to focus on responding to concerns from election officials about requirements and timelines related to HR1/S1’s mandates for early voting, voting by mail, automatic voter registration and voting system standards. From the Republican side, it will be to propose amendments to weaken the voting protection rights contained in the bill.
Demand Sens. Warren & Markey abolish the poison pill in S.1
SOUTH DEERFIELD, MA – Today, May 11, the Senate Rules Committee will begin the markup of the For the People Act (S.1). (S.1 as pdf)
Call Senator Elizabeth Warren at (202) 224-4543 and Senator Edward J. Markey at (202) 224-2742. Urge them to vote against the For the People Act until the repressive and cost-prohibitive restraints on minor candidates and third parties are removed.
This will be the first of several articles that delve into the onslaught against a true democracy's ability to represent the best interests of the people. With these efforts to suppress individual and party participation, we are doomed to governance committed only to policies promoted by the self interests of a very small, unrepresentative elite power structure.
On Feb. 15, Gallup released a poll saying support for a “third party” is at an all-time high. On March 22, state Sen. Roberta Lange, D-Las Vegas, introduced SB 292, which would make it harder for new or previously unqualified political parties to appear on the ballot in Nevada.
Supported by Democrats in the Legislature, SB 292 would double the number of signatures required to get on the ballot, from 1 percent to 2 percent of the last U.S. House statewide vote. It also would require the signatures to be spread equally over all four Nevada U.S. House districts.
For integrity’s sake, HR1/S1 needs to be clean of political conflicts of interest. But in its campaign finance section, it is not.
At no time since the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act have voting rights in the United States been under greater threat.
In the 10 years preceding the November 2020 elections, 25 states passed lawsrestricting the ability to vote. Since November 2020, Republican state lawmakers have introduced more than 250 additional bills in 43 states to restrict voting, most surgically designed to suppress the vote of millions of Americans — especially Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian and the young.
U.S. democracy is in existential crisis.
The country already suffers from unrepresentative winner-take-all, single-seat-district legislative elections, a two-party duopoly, partisan gerrymandering, the corrupting influence of big money in politics, and an Electoral College and US Senate that give vastly outsized influence to some voters over others. In the case of the Electoral College, it can also prevent the presidential candidate receiving the most votes from being elected.
The “For the People Act” (H.R.1/S.1) passed the House on March 3 and is now under consideration by the Senate. The bill was also adopted by the House in 2019 but had no chance of passage in the Senate with the Republicans in control. But now that this voting and elections reform bill has become a real possibility with Democratic control, it is receiving closer scrutiny from movement progressives, if not yet congressional progressives.
How Democrats' huge election reform package could stifle dissent
Congressional Democrats this month passed HR 1, dubbed the “For the People Act,” which they say is nothing short of a rescue plan for American democracy. It contains a long list of new regulations that seek to bolster participation in elections.
It’s one of those bills with a universally agreeable name. How could anyone be against The People?
Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp
The Democrats are pursuing an ostensible "Voting Rights" bill that seriously undermines 3rd party politics. For additional information, please visit https://www.gp.org/hr_1.