Felons could vote and 16 year olds could be automatically registered to vote if HR 1 passes the Senate

March 4 – HR 1, also known as “For the People Act,” is a massive bill first introduced in 2019 that includes everything from voting rights to gerrymandering to campaign finance reform – and the US House of Representatives passed it yesterday.

As it stands now, HR 1 would:

  • enact automatic voter registration
  • restore voting rights to felons after they have completed their sentences
  • expand early voting access and absentee voting
  • prohibit voter roll purges and partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts
  • impose new campaign finance rules
  • require presidential nominees to release 10 years of tax returns

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen of the Big Talk on 103.7FM discussed the issue today.

“There’s some suggestion even at the age of 16 you’d be put in this database where you could be automatically registered,” Barkdoll said. “It would allow third parties to drop off and process ballots for you, which some would say gets into the realm of vote harvesting.”

It also has some financial aspects, including anyone who donates more than $10,000 to a PAC, their identity would have to be disclosed.

The bill is now in the Senate and the future is very unclear. There’s talk of the Democrats attempting to eliminate the filibuster.

“If the democrats want to push this through, eliminating the filibuster in the Senate may be one way to do it,” Barkdoll said. “When they start modifying rules like that we get into a very slippery slope where that might lead.”

Jansen added, “It’s the demonization of any attempts to bring in some accountability in voting. They accuse you of racism the second you try to bring in any voter integrity. It’s going to open up every avenue for everyone to bring votes in and I think some of them very unethical. It really is a lock that you will probably never get Republicans in any significant power again in the federal government if this goes through.”

HR 1 requires 60 votes to pass in the Senate.

In addition to eliminating the filibuster, there’s also talk of modifying the rules to pass the bill on a simple majority in the Senate, but it’s unclear if the votes are there to do it.

People are urged to contact their Senators – today.

“Now is the time to call ..Pat Toomey and .. Bob Casey, making all of these phone calls to these Senators,” Ryan said. “When you call say, ‘please, for the good of the country, and for the good of your kids, grandkids and the grandkid’s future, vote no on this.’ Although, what’s the point? Casey’s going to be a good soldier and toe the line. He’s certainly not going to do what’s right on behalf of his constituents.”

“I do think an email or a call is helpful,” Barkdoll said. “I do think if some of these people hear from a lot of these constituents then that is on their mind when these things come up for votes. It might prevent it from getting further expanded.”

All it would take would be for a few of the Senators on the fence to fall to the other side and maybe YOUR call or email would be what did it.  

Jansen pointed out how critical it is to have members of Congress hear other voices.

“Mob mentality is out there,” she said. “I don’t know why they pay so much attention to Twitter. Twitter is really only a fractional representation, but it’s a very loud voice and they seem to get very afraid when the Twitter mob comes after them. It’s very real. They get afraid of being accused of racism. That has to be countered by other voices. People need to call.”