5 things to know about H.R. 1, just passed by the House

The House Just Passed H.R. 1

H.R. 1, also known as the “For The People Act,” is recently passed by House Democrats. The nearly 800-page bill contains all kinds of legislation, including federal election laws, voter eligibility, social media, and many more.

House Resolution 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process, was approved Wednesday night on a near party-line 220-210 vote.

Here’s what’s actually in the “For the People Act.”

1. Automatic voter registration for 16-year-olds

H.R. 1 requires states to set up a system to automatically register every eligible citizen to vote – even if a person is under 18. According to the bill, “a State may not refuse to treat an individual as an eligible individual … on the grounds that the individual is less than 18 years of age … so long as the individual is at least 16 years of age at such time.” Although the bill does not require states to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in elections, the states must automatically register them.

2. Ending voter ID requirements

Voters would no longer be required to show an ID when voting under H.R. 1. States also cannot require identification for obtaining an absentee ballot or casting a mail-in ballot – including notary stamps or witness signatures, which are safeguards currently in place. This provision would change laws in the 36 states which require or request some form of identification at the polls.

3. Legalizing ballot harvesting

Ballot harvesting, a practice where a third party collects ballots for voters and delivers them to an eligible drop-off location, would be legalized if H.R. 1 is signed into law. Harvesters, some of whom are paid, would be allowed to collect and distribute as many ballots as they want without limitations. Critics of ballot harvesting have argued that the practice allows for a third party to have an opportunity to tamper with ballots before they are dropped off.

4. Allows the Justice Department to demand the removal of social media posts

The Foreign Agent Disclaimer Enhancement (FADE) Act, which was added as an amendment to H.R. 1 Wednesday night, allows the Attorney General to force social media companies to remove posts by foreign agents. In order to avoid removal, the posts must be properly identified as coming from a foreign source, the amendment says.

People who have been convicted of a felony will have a right to vote after they have served their sentence. Felons who are currently serving time still cannot vote.

5. Redistricting Conducted Through An “Independent Commission”

Congressional redistricting must be done through a state’s independent redistricting commission. The commission is “required to meet certain criteria in the map-drawing process, including minimizing the division of communities of interest and a ban on drawing maps to favor a political party.” Membership on the commission must be bipartisan.

But House Resolution 1 (H.R. 1) faces an uncertain fate in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it has little chance of passing without changes to procedural rules that currently allow Republicans to block it.

President Joe Biden announced his support for the bill on Thursday morning.

“I look forward to working with Congress to refine and advance this important bill,” he said. “And I look forward to signing it into law … so that together we can strengthen and restore American democracy for the next election and all those to come.”

The biggest obstacles for H.R. 1 lie ahead in the Senate, which is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats.

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