Call your two Senators and ask them to vote for S.1, the For the People Act of 2021, the chamber’s counterpart to the voting rights bill that just passed in the House of Representatives.
Republicans have learned the wrong lessons from the 2020 election. Instead of seeing a silver lining for their party in the results–increased participation helped them hold Senate seats they were bracing to lose, and they came within sneezing distance of retaking control of the House of Representatives–nope, they still think broader access to the ballot box hurts them.
We at OTYCD trust that you all get how screwy this is. Instead of changing their message to something that appeals to a bigger group of voters, Republicans are hell-bent on curtailing and restricting the ability of Americans to choose who will govern them.
According to a January 2021 report by the Brennan Center, Republicans have introduced 106 bills in 28 different state legislatures with the intent of making it harder for their citizens to vote. And that was January, and you’re reading this in March–that number has almost certainly risen.
Democrats are doing their level best to defend and expand the right to vote. The first major action on that score was passing the For the People Act of 2021 in the House of Representatives on March 5, 2021.
If it becomes law, the For the People Act of 2021 would nullify many of the nefarious Republican state-level efforts to hamstring the vote.
Require states to offer same-day voter registration for federal elections
Mandate that states offer early voting for a minimum of 15 days
Require states to offer online voter registration
Make Election Day a federal holiday
Allow teenagers who will be 18 years old by Election Day to pre-register to vote
Require elections officials to inform voters when they are removed from the official list of registered voters and allow those people to challenge the removal and seek reinstatement
Restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences
…and that’s just the voting rights section, and that’s not everything in the voting rights section.
The bill also:
Mandates the use of paper ballots for voting
Stipulates that state officials must retain those paper ballots in case they’re needed for a recount or audit
Forces the president, vice president, and all major candidates for those two offices to make public their most recent 10 years’ worth of tax returns
Requires super PACs (political action committees) and similar organizations that supply candidates with what’s called “dark money” to disclose their donors
Outlaws partisan gerrymandering–the act of drawing an electoral map to clearly favor one party over another–and mandates that the 43 states large enough to have multiple Congressional districts must create independent commissions to draw their maps.
Again, this is not a complete list, but the bill is full of good stuff and it needs to pass.
At the time we at OTYCD were drafting this story, the text of S.1 wasn’t yet available. We’ll add a GovTrack link once it appears, but in the meantime, you can reference the text of H.R. 1, the House version:
Your task today is to call your two Senators and ask them to support S.1, the Senate counterpart to the House bill. It is also called the For the People Act of 2021.
Before placing your call, please check the social media feeds and press release sections of your Senators’ websites to see what they’ve said, or failed to say, about H.R. 1 or S. 1. To clarify–you want to react to what they’ve said about the For the People Act of 2021. The John Lewis Voting Rights Act is a separate and different bill designed to restore sections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were affected by a 2013 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).
Find your Senators’ contact information, and help others find their Senators’ information, here:
Suggested calling script, which you can of course rewrite as you please:
“Dear Senator [Firstname Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname] from [town, state, zip code]. I am calling to voice support for S.1, the For the People Act of 2021.
It would enact more than a dozen badly needed reforms that would expand and protect the right to vote, from mandating the use of paper ballots to making Election Day a federal holiday to requiring eligible states to create independent commissions for drawing state electoral maps.
<If one or both Senators has sponsored or spoken in favor of S.1: I see that you have publicly supported S.1, and I thank you for doing so. As a constituent, it’s what I want you to do. I also want to let you know that I support removing the filibuster if that’s the only way the bill can advance from the Senate to President Biden’s desk.>
<If one or both Senators has denounced S.1: I see that you have publicly opposed the Senate version of the For the People Act of 2021. I am profoundly disappointed in your stance, and I’m asking you to reconsider.>
Thank you for taking my call.”
Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!