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Testimony on S. 1, the For the People Act, Before the Senate Committee on Rules & Administration

Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, testified about the wave of anti-voter legislation in the states and how the For the People Act would stop these attempts at voter suppression.

Published: March 24, 2021

On March 24, 2021, Michael Wald­man, pres­id­ent of the Bren­nan Center for Justice, test­i­fied before the Senate Commit­tee On Rules & Admin­is­tra­tion on S. 1, the For the People Act, land­mark legis­la­tion to repair and revital­ize our demo­cracy.

The For the People Act would be the most signi­fic­ant demo­cracy reform bill in at least a half century and would markedly improve our system of self-govern­ment. It would set national stand­ards to ensure that all eligible citizens can cast a ballot — guar­an­tee­ing access to vote by mail and early voting and extend­ing auto­matic voter regis­tra­tion nation­wide. It would ban partisan gerry­man­der­ing and set clear rules for the draw­ing of congres­sional districts. It would curb the corros­ive role of big money in polit­ics, require disclos­ure and enforce­ment, and enact a system of volun­tary small donor match­ing funds. It would strengthen rules to ensure ethical conduct by exec­ut­ive and judi­cial branch offi­cials. And it would restore the right to vote for people with past crim­inal convic­tions and commit to strength­en­ing the Voting Rights Act.

Each of these bold reforms meets an urgent need at a time of crisis for our demo­cracy. Each has been found to work at the national, state, or local level. And as state legis­latures across the coun­try seek to enact policies to restrict the vote, an assault that targets people of color, the stakes could not be higher. The For the People Act is the next great civil rights bill. It is a direct response to the call for racial justice and for a better demo­cracy. It must become law.