Cortez Masto Introduces “For the People” Act to Protect Democracy & Voting Rights
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and U.S Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in sponsoring sweeping legislation to combat voter suppression, get dark money out of politics, and protect our democracy from foreign interference.
“American democracy is under attack, with states targeting voters of color and suppressing their right to vote, dark money flooding our elections, and bad actors from Russia to Iran working to subvert our faith in our system of government. It is our responsibility to protect democracy, and this legislation will make sure that every American is able to exercise their right to vote without undue influence from negative outside forces and individuals pushing their own agendas. Protecting our democracy should be a bipartisan priority, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work together and pass these reforms.”
The For the People Act would:
Promote Clean and Fair Elections
- Improve Access and Secure Voting Rights - Expands access to the ballot box by taking aim at institutional barriers to voting, including cumbersome voter registration systems, disenfranchisement and limited voting hours. It will create automatic voter registration across the country, ensure that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full voting rights restored, expand early voting and enhance absentee voting, simplify voting by mail, reduce long lines and wait times for voters and modernize America’s voting system.
- Encourage Integrity - Fights back against the assault on voting rights by reaffirming Congress’ commitment to restoring the Voting Rights Act, prohibiting voter roll purges like those seen in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere, and ensuring that discriminatory voter ID laws do not prevent Americans citizens from exercising their rights. This bill would also end partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters and making Americans feel like their voices do not count.
- Bolster Election Security – Ensures that American elections are decided by American voters without interference by foreign adversaries. The bill creates a national strategy to protect our democratic institutions, increases oversight over election vendors, and enhances federal support for state voting system security upgrades, including paper ballot voting systems.
End the Dominance of Big Money in our Politics
- Guarantee Disclosure – Shines a light on dark money in politics by requiring all political organizations to disclose their donors, which will break the nesting-doll system that allows big-money contributors and special interests to hide their spending in networks of so-called “social welfare” organizations; expands “Stand By Your Ad” provisions; and harmonizes internet disclosure rules with existing broadcast rules.
- Empower Citizens – Builds a 21st century campaign finance system to increase the power of small donors, reaffirms Congress’ authority to regulate money in politics, and pushes back against Citizens United. This bill levels the political playing field for everyday Americans, creating a multiple matching system for small donations and allowing the American people to exercise their due influence in a post-Citizens United world, while reaffirming that Congress should have the authority to regulate money in politics. The new system of citizen-owned elections will break special interests’ stranglehold on Congress and the White House and lay the groundwork for an agenda that serves the American people.
- Strengthen Oversight – Repairs and restructures the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to break gridlock and enhance enforcement mechanisms, tightens rules on super PACs, and repeals policy riders that block sensible disclosure measures.
Ensure Public Officials Work For The Public Interest
- Fortify Ethics Laws and Slow the Revolving Door – Breaks the influence of special interests in Washington and increases accountability by expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements, slows the revolving door, prohibits members of Congress from serving on for-profit corporate boards, limits first class travel for government officials, ends taxpayer-financed settlements for officeholders, and requires presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.
- Impose Greater Ethics Enforcement – Gives teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, requires the Supreme Court to create a new ethical code, and closes registration loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents.
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