HRC: Congress Takes Historic Action ‘For the People’


House passes historic bill protecting voter access.

HRC praised the passage of H.R. 1, the “For the People Act of 2019,” sweeping voting rights legislation that, among other things, would create a new national automatic voter registration that allows participants to opt-out rather than opt-in and make Election Day a holiday for federal workers.

“The American people are entitled to an electoral system that works for them, not against them,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “The ‘For the People Act of 2019’ will expand voter access for everyone and address the real obstacles to full political participation faced by vulnerable communities. We praise congressional leadership for securing passage of this bill in the House and call upon Sen. Mitch McConnell to immediately bring it to a floor vote on the Senate and let the people decide through their representatives.”

H.R. 1 was the first piece of legislation introduced in this session of Congress to make a number of key reforms protecting voters and making voting easier:

  • Create a new national automatic voter registration that would allow citizens to opt-out of access to the voting booth rather than opting-in
  • Increase promotion of early voting, same-day voter registration, and online voter registration
  • Make Election Day a federal holiday for federal employees and encourage businesses and other employers in the private sector to give the day off for their employees to vote
  • Make postsecondary institutions voter registration agencies with the same capability to process registrations as the DMV
  • Prohibit the purging of voters from registration rolls and prevent arcane mailing regulations from being used to remove voters’ registration
  • Increase security for elections, particularly against foreign threats
  • Recruit and train more poll workers to reduce wait times to vote and require them to provide at least a week’s notice if poll sites are changed

HRC has long called for action to protect and expand voting rights, and has included related legislation on its Congressional Scorecard. In addition to supporting this legislation, HRC and allied civil rights organizations continue to call for passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4), critically important civil rights legislation that would ensure fair access to the ballot for all Americans is protected. In November, HRC President Chad Griffin joined NAACP President Derrick Johnson in a CNN op-ed on the relentless attacks against the voting rights of vulnerable communities.