The House of Representatives late Wednesday passed HR 1, an expansive government ethics and voting rights bill that would implement a series of anti-corruption reforms and require states to adopt various voting reforms, such as no-excuse absentee voting and automatic voter registration.
The bill, titled the “For the People Act of 2021,” passed with the support of all but one Democratic member and over total Republican opposition. Included in it are provisions outlawing partisan gerrymandering, requiring same-day voter registration nationwide and mandating that states provide ballot drop boxes ahead of future elections.
HR 1 was the first piece of legislation that Democrats passed after retaking the House in 2018, but it stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. The bill is a stark contrast to recent efforts by many Republican state legislatures, which following the 2020 election have introduced bills aimed at tightening their respective states’ election laws.
“We need to do what we can to establish baseline standards and best practices that allow people to register to vote in America without it being an obstacle course for them,” said Maryland Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes, the bill’s lead sponsor. “All of these things are designed to restore people’s faith in democracy at a time when we can see with our own eyes that things are pretty shaky.”
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