In November 2018, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) unveiled H.R.-1, a reform bill, the New Yorker reported. All but one state democrat voted to pass the electoral-reform bill known as the For the People Act. This would be the largest election-reform bill in half a century, and it was approved by the house in early March 2021, according to NPR. However, Vox reported that some Democrats call the act too comprehensive and complain the language could be confusing and misinterpreted.
The Brennan Center noted that some tout it as a package of good-government and election reforms. Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats are battling at the state level, with big money and corporations backing both sides. According to the Committee on House Administration website, the For the People Act is a “sweeping package of pro-democracy and anti-corruption reforms puts the power back in the hands of the American people as it protects clean and fair elections through improving access to the ballot box, promoting election integrity, and ensuring election security; ends the dominance of big money in our politics by guaranteeing disclosure of political ads.”
Money remains at the center of the referendum. The action plans to pinch off the flow of dark money from anonymous political donors and non-profit groups. American-based moguls and foreign countries including Russia, have long been accused of providing dark money to influence U.S. elections.
Vocal supporter Rep. John Sarbanes - D of Maryland calls the H.R.-1 bill a continuation of the work of the late democratic civil rights activist John Lewis, who championed the Voting Right Advancement act.
Meanwhile, some Republican states are crafting laws to restrict mail-in and other voter rights. Republican Governor Brian Kemp recently signed legislation for voter restrictions in Atlanta, Georgia. In response, Major League Baseball stated it would move its All-Star game out of Atlanta. On April 2, Kemp issued a press release calling this MLB move a “knee-jerk decision” by “woke political activists coming for every aspect of your life, sports included.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, Texas could face the same corporate and sports boycotts as Georgia, if it pursues its restrictive election law proposals. On March 29, the New Yorker published a leaked conference call that showed how the battle to block H.R.-1 is reportedly backed by billionaire oil magnate Charles Koch, among others. During this conference call, an aide to U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell expressed frustration with the legislation’s popularity among Democrats and even Republicans.
McConnell himself urged corporate America to stay out of politics, according to reports, but corporate America is being pressured to pick a side. The New York Times reported that in an open letter signed by 72 African American executives, they are calling on major corporations to fight restrictive voting laws in Georgia, regardless of their business location.
As corporate America gauges what 300 million Americans expect it to do, H.R.-1 is no longer a story of the haves and have-nots. It is about the people versus big money. ~ℝ
Cherella COx, News Writer
Cherella Cox is Madam Peace.