In testimony before the Committee on House Administration Thursday morning, Demos will express strong support of H.R.1 – the For the People Act – a bold bill that addresses systemic racial, political, and economic inequities that continue to restrict full participation in American democracy.
Alongside other civil rights and election reform advocates, Demos’ Director of Legal Strategies Chiraag Bains will raise disturbing examples of voter suppression across the country – purges in Ohio, Indiana and Texas; photo ID laws in North Carolina and Georgia; felony disenfranchisement laws that perpetuate a legacy of racial bias; and intimidation tactics, such as confrontation and interference at the polls.
“Voter suppression—sometimes through blatantly racist maneuvers, sometimes through sophisticated, ostensibly race-neutral tactics—poses an existential threat to our democracy,” Bains stated in his written testimony for the Committee.
Entitled, “For the People: Our American Democracy,” the hearing will also highlight the growing policy distortion that results from big money in politics. Bains will discuss how the high cost of running for office has been a barrier to entry for candidates of color, resulting in a political class that is disproportionately white, and a donor class that remains overwhelming wealthy, white, and male — which is deeply unrepresentative of the United States in 2019.
As Bains notes in his written testimony, the big-money political system creates social and economic policies that are contrary to the interests of the majority of Americans.
“Our big-money political system actively undermines racial equity and gives us public policy out of step with the needs and preferences of the American public. The For the People Act would help curb the influence of big money in our elections and advance racial equity,” Bains said.
H.R.1 combines voting rights and the role of big money in politics in the same visionary legislative package. If enacted, it would help alleviate deep-seated racial inequities in the United States.