WASHINGTON (March 18, 2021)—The For the People Act (S.1), a bill to reform democracy and create fairer elections, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. A companion bill passed the U.S. House in early March. This bill is a historic and vital package of legislation that will challenge discriminatory election rules and make U.S. government more responsive, inclusive, and accountable, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Below is a statement by Taofik Oladipo, policy advocate for the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS.
“Reforming how we conduct our elections is a change long overdue. The For the People Act is a transformative piece of legislation that would result in a stronger and more accessible democracy. Last year, voters turned out in record numbers, overcoming challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictive voting rules to make their voices heard. Across the country, state legislatures have sadly responded to that surge of participation with attacks on the right to vote—putting new barriers in front of their voters. We need quick and decisive federal action to challenge these attacks and make sure we protect the right to vote.
“This new wave of laws restricting the vote would fall hardest on Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other voters from marginalized communities, reinforcing longstanding patterns of racial discrimination and making it harder for members of these communities to advocate for their own needs and interests. By increasing access to voting, leveling the playing field, and reducing the distortions created by gerrymandering and big campaign spending, the For the People Act would make our elections more equitable and inclusive for the voters most often blocked out of the process.
“For too many of us, the promise of democracy is a promise unfulfilled. The For the People Act would bring us much closer to a truly participatory government—a multiracial democracy in which everyone’s voices can be heard.”