Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, accompanied by 15 other secretaries of state from around the country, penned a letter to congressional leaders voicing opposition to the For the People Act.
The letter — sent to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader of the House Kevin McCarthy — outlined the group’s objections over the omnibus package that addresses voting rights, elections security and campaign finance reform.
“We are writing you today to urge you to reject the ‘For the People Act’ otherwise known as H.R. 1 or S. 1, which is a dangerous overreach by the federal government into the administration of elections,” the letter states. “Each state legislature should have the freedom and flexibility to determine practices that best meet the needs of their respective states. A one-size-fits-all approach mandated by Congress is not the solution to any of our problems.”
The letter further expands on the group’s worry that this legislation would “intrude upon our constitutional rights, and further sacrifice the security and integrity of the elections process.”.
“We firmly believe the authority to legislate and regulate these changes should be left with the states,” the secretaries wrote.
The For the People Act, the first bill in both chambers of the 117th congress, was re-introduced on Jan. 4, 2021, after failing to pass the then Republican-controlled Senate in March 2019. If passed, it would enact wide-ranging voting rights provisions including creating a modern system to automatically register voters, mandate states to allow felons the vote, give same-day registration to those who aren’t automatically registered and requires all states to allow two weeks of early voting during an election. It would also allow voters to send their ballots by mail without needing an excuse.
The bill would also force super PACs and nonprofits to disclose the names of donors who contribute more than $10,000 to elections, prevent states from purging voter rolls and create a public funding system for smaller congressional candidates allowing a 6 to 1 public funds match for donations up to $200. If a candidate raises the required $50,000 from at minimum 1,000 individual donors, takes only $1,000 from contributors and spends up to $50,000 of their own personal money, the system will fund that candidate with public money.
HR-1 will likely pass the House in March but could face a Republican filibuster in the Senate that could potentially kill the legislation.