ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT, the House of Representatives passed a sweeping package of voting rights and campaign finance reform that, if enacted, would reshape the structure of American politics, expanding the franchise and diminishing the power of wealthy interests. The bill passed not long before midnight by a margin of 220-210, with every Republican voting no, joined by one Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.
H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act, creates a national system of automatic voter registration, which is expected to bring millions of new voters to the ballot box, and cracks down on voter suppression tactics. Crucially, it mandates nonpartisan redistricting commissions in order to outlaw gerrymandering. Without passage of the legislation, Republicans are well positioned to retake the House of Representatives in 2022 without persuading a single voter to switch parties or turning out new voters, but simply by gerrymandering in the wake of the Trump administration’s rigged census. For that background and the legislation, listen to our February episode of Deconstructed, which focused on the For the People Act, and read Jon Schwarz’s essay on its importance.