Dear Democratic Colleague,
Today is Flag Day, a day when we pay our respects to our Flag: a symbol of democratic freedom at home and throughout the world. Sadly, the clock is ticking on our democracy with respect to the sanctity of the vote, unless we act to combat the actions taken by Republicans across the country to suppress the vote. This assault on the vote will not only harm our freedom but America’s example of freedom around the world.
To stop that anti-democratic tide, it is essential that we pass H.R. 1. This legislation was developed before the 2018 election, when candidates called for the For The People Act to be our first order of business. Congressman John Lewis wrote the first 300 pages of this bill to fight voter suppression. These provisions are even more urgent in light of the recent Republican bills intensifying that voter suppression. As of May 14, nearly 400 voter restriction bills have been introduced across 48 states.
Among the bills introduced:
- Nineteen states have legislation to restrict who can vote by mail. H.R. 1 requires a nationwide standard of no-excuse absentee voting.
- Twenty-seven states have laws to tighten or impose voter ID requirements. Instead, H.R. 1 requires states to accept a sworn written statement signed under penalty of perjury in lieu of documentary ID.
- Seventeen states have bills to expand voter purges. H.R. 1 prohibits purges based solely on unreliable evidence like past failure to vote, prohibits voter caging and limits inaccurate purges based on interstate cross-checks.
- Eight states have bills to eliminate or prevent same-day voter registration. H.R. 1 requires same-day voter registration.
- Laws that have already been enacted would limit the timing to apply for and deliver a mail ballot; limit the number, location or availability of mail drop boxes; limit who can assist in returning a mail-in or absentee ballots; and tighten ID requirements and expand purges. H.R. 1 corrects for these voter suppression tactics.
Voter suppression has been deepened by the suffocation of the airwaves caused by big dark special interest money. If you wonder why we cannot enact legislation to protect the planet or enact gun violence prevention bills that are supported by the overwhelming majority of the American people, it is because Republicans in Congress are the handmaidens of the fossil fuel and gun industries. H.R. 1 sheds light on this crisis by requiring disclosure of dark special interest money and empowering the grassroots and small donors.
For these and other reasons, it is necessary that we prevail. We will proceed to do so, with gratitude to Committee on House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren and Democracy Task Force Chair John Sarbanes for their leadership. Outside mobilization is essential to our success, and we thank the grassroots campaigns, which manifest the overwhelming support of the American people for H.R. 1.
H.R. 1 protects us in the current elections and must pass now. H.R. 4 is the foundation for future elections and must be passed in a way that is constitutionally ironclad. Any premature passage could be very damaging to its success.
In these fights, nothing less than our democracy is at stake. Thank you for your patriotic leadership For The People.
Happy Flag Day.
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