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Experts Will Testify on Solutions to Remedy Elections Crisis Challenging U.S. Democracy


Experts Will Testify on Solutions to Remedy Elections Crisis Challenging U.S. Democracy

House Administration Committee Hearing Thursday on the For the People Act (H.R. 1)

U.S. House Committee on House Administration Chair U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is hosting a hearing at 8:30 a.m. Thursday on the For the People Act (H.R. 1). The hearing will feature testimony from Americans who grapple with the failures of our current political system and national experts who fight for change, such as Alejandro Rangel-Lopez, senior at Dodge City High School in Dodge City, Kan., and plaintiff in LULAC & Rangel-Lopez v. Cox; Brandon Jessup, executive director of Michigan Forward; Peter Earle, Wisconsin civil rights trial lawyer; Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice; and Chiraag Bains, director of Legal Strategies at Demos. The Declaration for American Democracy Coalition submitted a letter for the record, which is available here.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind as the hearing unfolds:

Pro-democracy measures have gained popularity in states including New York, Ohio and Idaho.

Voters understand that America cannot effectively address its critical issues until we fix our broken political system. For instance, a Gallup poll in advance of the 2018 midterm elections found than six in 10 Americans support stricter gun safety laws. A Reuters/Ipsos poll from December 2018 found that seven in 10 Americans consider climate change to be a moderate, serious or imminent thread. And a recent Gallup poll found that eight in 10 voters favor a path to citizenship for immigrants. Despite the overwhelming public support, progress on these issues continues to be blocked by powerful corporate interests.

Breaking the logjam means ensuring that all Americans have access to the ballot box, ending the dominance of big money in politics and ensuring that our elected officials and the executive branch are working for the people, not themselves or corporate special interests.

H.R. 1 is a bold, comprehensive package of reforms that will put the power of our government into the hands of the people, not wealthy special interests.

This legislation will repair our democratic institutions by:

• Expanding access to the ballot box, including creating automatic voter registration across the country; ensuring that returning citizens who have completed felony sentences have their full voting rights restored; expanding early voting and simplifying absentee voting; and modernizing the U.S. voting system;
• Prohibiting voter roll purges and ending partisan gerrymandering to keep politicians from choosing their voters;
• Creating a multiple-matching system for small donations, thereby allowing everyday Americans to exercise their due influence in politics; and
• Fortifying ethics law by slowing the revolving door between government and the private sector; expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements and requiring presidents and candidates for president to disclose their tax returns.

For too long, lobbyists and big donors have written our laws and skewed policies to benefit their clients or themselves at the expense of everyone else. H.R. 1 is an important first order of business to further progress on the many important issues facing Americans today.

Americans want a government that works for the people to address our country’s challenges in a way that benefits all of us, not just wealthy donors and special interests.

If you have any questions about today’s hearing or would like to speak to a coalition representative, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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