Waters Applauds House Passage of Her Amendment to H.R. 1, the For the People Act
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, issued the following statement regarding her amendment to H.R. 1 passing the House.
“Later today, the House will pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act, legislation that is vital to ensuring the continuance of our democratic and electoral institutions. This legislation strives to hold our system of government to account, and demands a more equitable, more just, and more participatory democracy. Prior to a final vote on H.R. 1, the House voted on, and passed, my amendment to the For the People Act.
“As my late colleague and friend, the Honorable John Lewis, would have pointed out - one of the primary ways in which voters are disenfranchised is through deliberate misinformation, a tactic that has taken on new life in the age of social media. Now, every single election cycle sees attempts to suppress voter participation by intimidating or intentionally misleading voters.
“The For the People Act addresses this issue by prohibiting misinformation which intentionally misleads a voter in order to suppress their vote. This misinformation is defined as including a statement which threatens a voter with fake criminal penalties if they vote, such as misinformation which claims that if a voter casts a ballot, then they will be subject to criminal penalties or imprisonment.
“However, in California and throughout the country, misinformation is not confined merely to erroneous criminal threats, but includes a wide variety of legal threats. There have been examples of students told that if they vote, they will be kicked off their family’s health insurance plan. Voters have been threatened with deportation if they cast a ballot, and some have been threatened with fake tax penalties. All of this is misinformation which makes a false legal threat of some kind.
“My amendment to H.R. 1, which just passed the House, ensures that misinformation which makes any type of legal threat, not just a criminal legal threat, in order to mislead and suppress the vote will be prohibited.
“It is vital that Congress uphold its responsibility to protect every American from disenfranchisement, particularly those most targeted historically by antidemocratic maneuvers and tactics, such as voters of color, and those who are poor, disabled, and young. Attempts to disenfranchise these groups has only increased since the 2020 presidential election, with more than 250 bills now winding through more than 40 state legislatures which would restrict, in some way, a voter’s right to cast their ballot.
“This is why I authored and put forward my amendment to H.R. 1, and why I will continue to fight for every American’s ability to participate in our democracy. I urge all of my colleagues to do the same and vote in favor of H.R. 1 when it comes before the full House for a vote.”