Wed. 3/10: The “H.R. 1/S.1 – For the People Act” is now in the Senate! Call your senators and join in the outreach campaigns!

ACTION #1: Reach out to your senators, no matter what side they’re on.

(The House version – H.R. 1 – the For the People Act passed on 3/3/2021.)

Minimal script for DEM. senators: I’m calling from [zip code] to thank Sen. [___] for cosponsoring and supporting S.1For the People Act. Please ask the senator to be prepared to use a targeted filibuster to pass this bill and others related to the basic foundations of our democracy, such as H.R.4 – The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act and H.R. 51 – Washington DC Admission Act. Also, please ask [him/her] to include these best practices for more secure and transparent elections in the bill:

  • PAPER BALLOTS: Clarify that every voter shall be offered an Hand-Marked Paper Ballots (HMPB) when voting in person.
  • NO BARCODES: Remove barcodes for recording votes, as their information can’t be verified by the voter.
  • POST PUBLICLY: Scanned images of paper ballots shall be preserved as publicly accessible records.
  • AUDIT: Routine independent audits of all federal elections in addition to Risk Limiting Audits (RLAs)
  • STANDARDIZE RECOUNTS: Public 100% hand count of every federal race with margins of 1% or less.

Minimal script for GOP senators: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Sen. [___] to support S.1For the People Act. Addressing corruption, the protection of voting rights, and reforming of campaign finance should be bipartisan priorities to make our democracy better for all Americans, regardless of their political affiliation. Now, GOP-controlled states like ours are passing ugly and embarrassing Jim Crow-style laws, and I expect Sen. [___] to find the moral fortitude to stand up against them by voting for S.1.

This legislation is co-sponsored by every member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, including both our senators, Feinstein and Padilla.

Contacts

  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884 (Updated contacts still in-progress.)
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

ACTION #2: Petition: Senator Feinstein, Please Vote to End the Filibuster!

Please sign this petition from Indivisible Marin asking Senator Feinstein to commit to voting to swiftly end the filibuster, particularly given the urgency of passing the “For The People Act.” 

The timetable for passage of this bill is extremely time-sensitive given that the independent redistricting commissions it mandates must be formed in time to prevent gerrymandered Congressional district lines for the next decade. It is widely agreed that the “For the People Act” will most certainly not pass if the filibuster is left intact. There does not appear to be a path to compromise on this issue. Senate Democrats must choose to overhaul the filibuster or sacrifice voting rights, along with other crucial legislation that the American people support.

ACTION #3: Join in one of these outreach campaigns.

Don’t forget to talk to your own media circle of friends and family in GOP-controlled states!

Phonebank shifts! – Includes training!

Sign up here. Common Cause has phonebanks on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 6pm ET/3pm PT every week to make calls together on the For the People Act (HR1/S1). This historic bill will eradicate gerrymandering, enact automatic voter registration, and get money out of politics. Please sign up here to connect voters directly with their lawmakers.

Become a social media monitor!

Sign up here! Our social media monitoring program is going strong to help identify and stop mis/disinformation about election integrity and other issues connected to our democracy. If you haven’t watched the new social media monitoring training for trained monitors, you can do so here.

Textbank shifts!

Sign up here. We have textbanks on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday at 12pm ET/9am PT every send thousands of texts to people in key states to ask them to make calls in support of the For the People Act (HR1/S1). Sign up below to connect voters directly with their lawmakers.

Send a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Indivisible has put together a template to help you get started here.

Record a video demanding your member of Congress prioritize democracy reform

Do it here. Lots of examples and a “how-to-make-a good-video” video.

Deeper Dive

Update: Trump just signed up for mail-in voting in Florida – past the deadline.

H.R.1/S.1, first introducted in 2019, is a collection of reforms to campaign finance, voting rights, and government ethics for ALL THREE BRANCHES of government, including the presidency and the judiciary. After Trump’s real-time master class in corruption, we need this bill’s stronger guardrails more than ever. “Norms” are no longer good enough. H.R. 1 is an important first step towards building an equitable and functional democracy, along with the D.C. statehood bill and H.R.4 – John Lewis Voting Rights Act, without which we can’t achieve any of our other progressive goals.

(This helpful video below, from 2019, is a great conversation with the bill’s author, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD-3). Short explainer videos from him on this bill here.)

This is a VERY LONG BILL, so here are some ways to approach it.

Here are just a few of the reforms in HR 1: 

  • Requiring automatic and same day voter registration for federal elections
  • Requiring the president, vice president, and candidates for those offices to release their tax returns
  • Forcing the president and vice president to divest from financial holdings that could secretly pose a conflict of interest
  • Provide for early voting and expands mail-in voting…you know, like Trump did.
  • Funding election security upgrades to prevent fraud and foreign interference.
  • Making voting transparent by requiring PAPER ballots!
  • Expanding the disclosure of donors funding dark money groups
  • Creating a small donor matching system for Congressional elections
  • Stop gerrymandering by creating non-partisan redistricting.

Ten reasons for the Senate to pass the For the People Act 

From CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)

Cracking down on government corruption

1. If presidential candidates disclosed their tax returns, the American people would not have to spend years wondering what interests the president could be beholden to or whether the president has paid their fair share. 

  • The For the People Act would require the president, vice president and candidates for those offices from major parties to disclose 10 years of personal tax returns, as well as 10 years of returns for businesses of which they are the sole or principal owner. 

2. If presidents and vice presidents were required to divest from their conflicts of interest before taking the oath of office, the president could not rake in $1.6 billion in side revenue and income and groups like CREW would not have to sue them for violating the Constitution. 

  • The For the People Act would require the president and vice president to divest from personal financial interests that could pose a conflict with their official duties—just like other executive branch employees must. 

3. If Supreme Court Justices were held to a code of ethics, like every other federal judge, then justices may have to recuse themselves from cases involving family members’ former employers. Like Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who failed to recuse from a case before the Supreme Court about Shell.

  • The For the People Act would require a code of ethics for the entire federal judiciary, including Supreme Court justices, which could deal with issues like recusal, financial disclosures, outside employment and partisan political engagement.

4. If cabinet members and senior administration officials’ private flights were restricted, people like Tom Price and Scott Pruitt would not be able to use tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on travel.

  • The For the People Act would restrict taxpayer-funded travel on private planes by Cabinet members and senior appointees, except in cases where there are no commercial flights available.   

5. If members of the House were banned from serving on corporate boards, we would not have to worry about using their positions to enrich themselves or  to go easy on the companies they profit from. Like former Rep. Chris Collins did with Innate Immunotherapeutics back in 2017.

  • The For the People Act would significantly strengthen conflict of interest rules for members of Congress, including banning House members from serving on the boards of for-profit entities, and would restrict the ability of members of Congress from working to further their own financial interests or that of family members. 

Fighting big money in politics

6. If members of Congress were more accountable to their constituents rather than to their wealthy donors, they would be less likely to get away with inciting an insurrection or going on tropical vacations during a crisis in their state. 

  • The For the People Act would create a voluntary small-donor matching program for House races, as well as piloting  a voucher program in three states, which would enable candidates to run for office without relying on wealthy donors.

7. If political donors’ names were associated with the advertisements and dark money groups  they funded, they could be held accountable for that spending, rather than saying one thing in public and doing another in private—and groups like CREW wouldn’t have to go to court to force that disclosure.

  • The For the People Act would require groups spending more than $10,000 on elections to disclose, with limited exceptions, donors giving more than $10,000, as well as require disclosure of such donations to groups that then transfer the funds to other groups for spending on elections. It would also require outside groups to disclose their top donors in all video, audio or online political ads. 

8. If the FEC actually did its job, groups like CREW would not have to sue the FEC  to make sure there were consequences when dark money groups break the law.

  • The For the People Act would reform the FEC, including lowering the number of commissioners to five to prevent tie votes, streamlining the FEC enforcement process, and allow for more judicial review of the FEC’s decisions.

Getting out the vote and making it count

9. If voter registration and election procedures were  modernized, more Americans would be able to make their voices heard more easily. This would shift power from big money donors and corporations back to the people.

  • The For the People Act would significantly modernize voter registration by requiring states to implement same-day and automatic voter registration for federal elections. It would also require states to offer at least two weeks of early voting and require states to allow any eligible voter to vote by mail in federal elections.

10. If states stopped gerrymandering congressional districts based on race and party, elections would be more about whose policies voters liked, rather than what side of the street they happen to live on.

  • The For the People Act would ban partisan gerrymandering and include stronger protections for racial, ethnic and language minorities in redistricting. It would also require states to use independent redistricting commissions for congressional redistricting, changing it from the current partisan process in many states.

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