For the People Act Offers Tried and True Election Reforms
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass a new law, the For the People Act, that secures our elections, protects our freedom to vote, gets big money and special interests out of politics, and cleans up government. The For the People Act, introduced as H.R. 1 and S. 1 to indicate its high priority, is the most transformative pro-democracy bill introduced in Congress since the Watergate era. It is the bold action that Americans want and deserve, and Congressman John Sarbanes has been championing this comprehensive effort through Congress. Throughout his public service, Rep. Sarbanes has been a leader to help ensure that other states have many of the same reforms that Maryland has been passing. As the chair of the House Democracy Reform Task Force, Congressman Sarbanes has assembled the For the People Act by talking with voters about how government can work better for them, spending hundreds of hours listening to experts and gathering the best ideas from colleagues, and examining best practices from states and localities. Provisions in H.R. 1 are tried and true reforms that have passed in many red, purple, and blue states.... With the support of Congressman Sarbanes and Common Cause Maryland, localities throughout Maryland have passed citizen-funded elections systems to amplify the voices of everyday Marylanders, including Baltimore City, and Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Howard counties. And now the General Assembly has passed the Maryland Fair Elections Act to strengthen the gubernatorial Fair Campaign Financing Fund, which Gov. Larry Hogan used in his first election, and we urge him to sign this bill into law. These citizen-funded election programs, a key part of the For the People Act that Congressman Sarbanes has championed, incentivize small donors and help get big money out of politics. Small donor systems ensure candidates and our elected representatives prioritize the needs of everyday voters over those of big donors. Instead of candidates relying on wealthy donors, lobbyists and special interests to fund their campaigns, small donors who contribute $10, $20 or $50 will have their donations amplified by matching funds and can be competitive with the big donors. As a result, nurses, firefighters and teachers can become the “big donors” and have their voices amplified.... In addition to Congressman Sarbanes championing this legislation, we also appreciate the continued leadership on the For the People Act from Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Rep. Jamie Raskin and the entire Maryland congressional delegation, all of which supports the bill, except Rep. Andy Harris. Since entering Congress, Rep. Sarbanes has recognized the dangerous role of big money in politics and has worked tirelessly to change the status quo to put “we the people” in charge of government. On behalf of our 1.5 million members, we will continue to work “in common cause” with Congressman Sarbanes to get the For the People Act through the Senate and to President Biden’s desk so all Americans, regardless of race, ZIP code or the size of our wallets, can have our voices heard.