March 17, 2021 – Today the U.S. Senate introduced the For the People Act, S. 1, which includes reforms to voting, redistricting, campaign finance, and government ethics. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law helped develop many of the policies in the legislation – such as automatic voter registration, the restoration of voting rights to people with past criminal convictions, redistricting reform, and small donor public financing.
Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, had this reaction:
American democracy urgently needs repair. In states across the country, there are seven times as many proposals to restrict the vote as two years ago. We’re months from a new redistricting cycle that will likely be marked by extreme partisan gerrymandering, denying communities a voice and voters choice. Our politics is awash in big money. The system tilts against Black and brown voters in countless ways.
The For the People Act would be the most significant democracy reform in over half a century. It is the next great civil rights bill. It would stop the wave of voter suppression, cold. Congress has the power to do this, legally and constitutionally. The question is whether it has the political will.
It is significant that this bill bears the number S.1. and has the strong support of Senate leaders. It has been nearly two decades since a significant democracy reform bill has been debated on the Senate floor. The Brennan Center for Justice is grateful to Majority Leader Schumer, Chairwoman Klobuchar, and Sen. Merkley for their leadership and commitment. President Biden is right to call this a ‘landmark.’ We look forward to working with the administration and the House to turn the for The People Act into law.
This statement is available here.
Resources on the For the People Act:
- Brennan Center Urges Congress to Pass the For the People Act (letter sent to Congress on Feb. 26)
- Why Congress Must Pass the For the People Act (Brennan Center report)
- Annotated Guide to the For the People Act (Brennan Center report)
- How to Fix American Democracy (Brennan Center Q&A about the For the People Act)
- Congress Could Change Everything (Brennan Center chart showing the kinds of voting restrictions introduced in the states and how the For the People Act would impact them)
- State Voting Bills Tracker 2021 (Brennan Center)
- Politico: The Supreme Court’s “Breathtakingly Radical” New Approach to Election Law(shows that federal courts have left protecting the vote to Congress, by Brennan Center experts Daniel Weiner and Wendy Weiser)
- The Redistricting Landscape, 2021-22 (Brennan Center report)
- Small Donor Matching in the ‘For the People Act’(BrennanCenter explainer)