Highlighting CEEP’s HR.1. Bill Resource

How, as a democracy, should the United States conduct our elections? Who decides access to the ballot box? Should large contributors have unlimited say? Who should draw congressional and legislative districts? How do we enforce ethical behavior in elected officials?

In 2021, the U.S. House has reintroduced H.R.1, For the People Act of 2021. The bill states that it seeks to “expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants.” A huge bill, H.R.1 covers multiple aspects of elections and voting. The new bill follows a 2019 version that passed in the House 234 to 193 on a party-line vote. It had no Republican support, and then died in the Senate, where then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had deep criticisms and did not bring it up for a vote. As early 2021, the Senate is about to introduce its own version, S.1.

Why It’s Important

H.R.1 outlines key arguments in a discussion that will continue long after any particular bill, and the approaches it promotes will continue to be argued in debates around America’s electoral rules. Because of wide Democratic Party support, H.R.1 serves as an outline of Democratic electoral reform policy. Meanwhile, Republican opposition highlights their core arguments around issues of electoral procedures and voting rules. A number of the bill’s provisions directly affect student voting and the role of colleges and universities in the electoral process.

This guide describes the bill’s key elements, explores arguments for and against it, and offers specific questions aimed at facilitating classroom or co-curricular discussions of its proposed policies.

Check it out! 

The Election Rules Debate—Key Issues & the H.R. 1 Bill

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