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Press Release

Brennan Center Comment on Senate’s Designation of For the People Act as S. 1

“It is unprecedented and encouraging that Senate leaders have said they will introduce the For the People Act as the first bill in the session,” said Brennan Center President Michael Waldman.

January 19, 2021
Contact: Rebecca Autrey, Media Contact,, 202-753-5904

Today, the incom­ing Senate Major­ity Leader Charles Schu­mer, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Jeff Merkley announced that the For the People Act, a historic demo­cracy reform bill, will be the first piece of legis­la­tion intro­duced this session in the Senate. The announce­ment comes after the House rein­tro­duced its version of the bill earlier this month. The Bren­nan Center helped develop many of the core policies in the For the People Act, includ­ing – auto­matic voter regis­tra­tion, restor­ing voting rights for people with past crim­inal convic­tions, redis­trict­ing reform, and small donor public finan­cing.

Michael Wald­man, pres­id­ent of the Bren­nan Center for Justice at NYU Law, had this comment on the For the People Act:

“It is unpre­ced­en­ted and encour­aging that Senate lead­ers have said they will intro­duce the For the People Act as the first bill in the session. This responds to two twin crises facing our coun­try: the attack on demo­cracy reflec­ted in the assault on the Capitol, and the demand for racial justice. Through­out the coun­try’s history, the best way to defend demo­cracy is to strengthen demo­cracy. S. 1 would be the most signi­fic­ant demo­cracy reform in more than half a century. 

“It incor­por­ates the key meas­ures that are urgently needed. Auto­matic voter regis­tra­tion to modern­ize our elec­tions. A national guar­an­tee of free and fair elec­tions without voter suppres­sion. Small donor public finan­cing to curb the corrupt­ing role of big money. An end to partisan gerry­man­der­ing. A restor­a­tion of ethics through­out govern­ment. A commit­ment to restore the strength of the Voting Rights Act. 

“This elec­tion showed the passion­ate commit­ment to our demo­cracy reflec­ted in the highest voter turnout in over a century, despite the pandemic, voter suppres­sion, and pres­id­en­tial lies. We’ve known for a long time that the demo­cracy we cher­ish needs renewal and reform. This meas­ure would be sweep­ing historic legis­la­tion. It is espe­cially signi­fic­ant that this proposal now is the first piece of legis­la­tion in both cham­bers of Congress. We urge lawmakers to act swiftly.”

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