With a vote of 220-210, the House on Wednesday night passed House Resolution 1, a sweeping election reform bill that would eliminate partisan gerrymandering, expand early and mail-in voting, make voter registration automatic, and weaken voter ID laws.
Studies show that taking these steps would get more voters, especially those of color, to the polls. At Republican-controlled statehouses across the country, lawmakers are attempting to roll back voting access, citing former President Donald Trump's false claims that there was widespread election fraud in November. Trump lost Georgia, a state that saw record turnout, and on Monday the state House approved a bill that limits weekend early voting days, requires a photo ID for absentee voting, and restricts ballot drop box locations.
"You can win on the basis of your ideas and the programs you put forward, which is what we choose to do," Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), an author of H.R. 1, said. "Or you can try to win by suppressing the vote, drawing unfair districts across the country, and using big money to spread disinformation."
The bill needs 60 votes in the Senate, where it faces Republican opposition, and some believe this might be the measure that ends the filibuster. "Voting rights is preservation of all other rights, and we have to do everything we can to preserve the voices of the people in our democracy," Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said. "I think the issues are urgent enough to leave all options on the table."