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Press release/statement

Demos Supports H.R. 1, a Package of Reforms that Can Restore Our Democracy and Advance Racial Justice

K. Sabeel Rahman

Statement to be attributed to Demos President K. Sabeel Rahman

Demos stands in strong support of H.R. 1, a visionary new bill that has the ability to transform our democracy by addressing some of the deep political, racial, and economic inequalities that have contributed to the current crisis of our democracy.

H.R. 1, introduced by the new Congress, is a bold democracy reform agenda that would strengthen voting rights by expanding access to the polls, modernizing voter registration, and protecting voters from aggressive purging of the voter rolls-including by correcting the Supreme Court’s wrongheaded 5-4 decision in Demos’ case against Ohio’s vote purging, Husted v. APRI.

It would curtail the corrupting role of big money in politics, which drowns out everyday people and favors white candidates, and establish a new way to campaign for federal offices. It incorporates the Government By the People Act, which Demos has long supported and which would amplify the voices of small-dollar donors and allow more candidates of color and low-income candidates to run on the issues that matter to their constituents.  And H.R.1 would put new ethics restrictions in place for federal officials at a time when we badly need them.

Many Americans, particularly working families and communities of color, rightfully feel that our democracy excludes them and that people in power ignore them. These comprehensive reforms–supported by the majority of Americans–can begin to rectify injustices that have shut people out of having a say. The right to participate in our democracy is foundational and fundamental. Without these reforms, our political institutions will continue to be captured and corrupted, serving the interests of only the few at the expense of we the people. The bill would help create a new more inclusive democracy, which in turn helps advance us toward racial and economic justice.

The House leadership, led by the Democrats, has signaled that it is taking the concerns of the people to heart, and the Senate should respond by passing H.R.1. Our most foundational values of equity, inclusion, and democracy are too important to be subjected to conventional partisan divisions, and we call upon all elected officials to serve the American public by restoring trust and inclusion to our democracy.

(Demos has been working with Rep. John Sarbanes, who chairs the Democracy Task Force that developed the package, and on outreach efforts with ally organizations on the issues related to the bill.)