NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Point of View: Bill is essential to America's future

Advertisement
Jan Largent
Jan Largent

H.R. 1, the For the People Act, is a sweeping democracy reform bill that passed in the House of Representatives on March 8. The national League of Women Voters and the Oklahoma chapter proudly support this legislation. Some of the main tenets of the bill are the expansion and protection of voting rights, transparency and regulation of campaign finance and efforts to fight corruption and maintain ethics in election processes.

H.R. 1 would improve access to voting in many ways. It would require states to allow same-day registration and at least 15 days of early voting; establish systems of automatic registration and an online voter registration system; and make Election Day a federal holiday. It would crack down on efforts to remove voters from rolls, such as the recent purge of 90,000 inactive voters from the rolls in Oklahoma. H.R. 1 also would ensure the restoration of voting rights to people convicted of felonies upon the completion of their sentences. And it would require the establishment of independent, nonpartisan, citizen-led redistricting commissions to draw congressional lines.

H.R. 1 would address campaign finance in several ways. It would expand the ban on foreign nationals contributing to elections and the disclosure rules pertaining to organizations that spend money on campaign advertisements. The bill would update the public financing system for presidential candidates, largely irrelevant since 2012. It would require the establishment of a matching-fund program to support federal congressional candidates who agree to raise only small-dollar contributions.

H.R. 1 includes several measures related to ethics. For instance, it would ensure protection against computer tampering with election results by requiring paper ballots for federal elections. It would bar House members from serving on corporate boards. And it would require presidents-elect to submit ethics plans for their transition teams and would have to file financial disclosures within 30 days of taking office.

The League of Women Voters-Oklahoma is dedicated to ensuring the integrity of our elections and protecting the right of every citizen to be informed and empowered to vote. We appreciate Sen. James Lankford’s efforts to ensure the security of our democracy, especially his participation in the bipartisan Secure Elections Act. Now we call upon Lankford to do even more to secure democracy by demanding a hearing for and supporting the For the People Act. We encourage Oklahomans to contact Lankford and tell him H.R. 1 is critical to America’s future. It's time for Congress to make our election system more free, fair and accessible to all eligible Americans.

Largent, of Stillwater, is president of the League of Women Voters-Oklahoma.

Comments