Former AG Eric Holder testifies before Senate panel in favor of ‘For the People’ voting bill News
© WikiMedia (Lorie Shaull)
Former AG Eric Holder testifies before Senate panel in favor of ‘For the People’ voting bill

Former US Attorney General Eric Holder testified Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration in support of the “For the People Act” on voting rights. Holder said that the Act is necessary to “abolish the undemocratic trinity of issues plaguing our democracy-gerrymandering, voter suppression, and dark money.”

Under the proposed legislation, eligible citizens would be automatically registered for federal elections in all 50 states. Additionally, all states would be required to allow same-day voter registration or changes to voter information and to establish two weeks of early voting. All states would be required to have online voter registration systems where people could register or update their information. It would also allow pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds. It also includes protection against voter roll purgers, protection for overseas military ballots and promotes access for disabled persons. Finally, it would make Election Day a federal holiday.

The next set of goals involve strengthening ethics. These include reducing the Federal Election Commission panel to five members in order to prevent ties, and requiring that no more than two members be of the same political party. Furthermore, it would require all presidential and vice-presidential candidates to release 10 years of tax refunds, establish a set of legal ethics binding to the Supreme Court and prevent discrimination claims against Congresspersons to be paid with Congressional money. It would also limit the money a Presidential Inaugural committee can take from corporations.

Finally, the bill tackles gerrymandering and campaign finance reform. To help prevent gerrymandering, districts would be drawn by independent commissions. On the campaign finance front, the bill seeks to prevent dark money and PACs from controlling campaign finance by establishing limits directly from the DISCLOSE Act, which has been introduced but not passed before.

Holder’s testimony began by pointing out that the 2020 election was the safest election on record, despite a fraction of the country arguing otherwise. They have used this argument, he says, to attempt to pass legislation that would restrict who can vote. The barriers are onerous to “many Americans, particularly people of color.”

He pointed out that the For The People Act “begins to repair the damage that has been caused to voting rights in America over the past decade,” including effectively overturning the Supreme Court decisions in Citizens United, Shelby County and Rucho, which all prevent truly free and fair elections from happening. 

Holder concluded his testimony by noting that the Act does not benefit either party because, “[a]ll Americans have a stake in a democracy that prizes the idea of ‘one person, one vote.'”