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Waters Applauds House Passage of the For the People Act, Touts Her Amendment That Holds Bad Actors Accountable

March 3, 2021
Press Release

Waters Applauds House Passage of the For the People Act, Touts Her Amendment That Holds Bad Actors Accountable

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, issued the following statement applauding the passage of H.R.1, the For the People Act.

“Over the last five years, we have witnessed abhorrent attacks launched against our democratic institutions, the electoral process, and yes – even on the United States Capitol. These attacks have been fierce, and there is no doubt that the challenges our country faces are great.

“Today, I proudly voted in favor of the For the People Act, because our democracy cannot wait for us to meet this challenge, not even by one more day, and I am so pleased that the House of Representatives has taken a bold step and passed this landmark legislation that includes my amendment.

“This bill improves access to clean and fair elections by establishing automatic voter registration, prohibiting voter roll purges, ending partisan gerrymandering, requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns, restoring voting rights for the formerly incarcerated, better regulating coordination between super PACs and campaigns, and enhancing federal support for voting system security. With the inclusion of my amendment, which broadens the scope of this bill to more effectively hold bad actors accountable, this bill also makes it illegal for disinformation to threaten voters with criminal, civil, or other legal penalties if they vote.

“In 2020, voters were targeted with disinformation that was intended to intimidate them into voting for candidates out of fear or even to prevent them from voting at all. In some instances, these intimidation tactics included targeting voters’ healthcare, tax status, or immigration status, and my amendment ensures those who engage in issuing these types of threats are held legally accountable.

“Just weeks before election day, voters in Alaska and Florida reported receiving emails that read “vote for Trump or else,” from people who claimed to be in possession of the voters’ emails, phone numbers, and home addresses. During the election cycle, disinformation flooded voters in the forms of robocalls, rumors, legal threats and emails.

“After an election riddled with disinformation and threats, culminating in the violent January 6 insurrection, this bill is necessary and long overdue. The For the People Act is a spiritual successor to some of the greatest civil rights bills in United States history, including the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Congresses responsible for the passage of those historic pieces of legislation knew, and took seriously, the federal government’s responsibility to protect Americans from any antidemocratic, autocratic assaults on the right to vote and participate in the world’s greatest democracy.

“And so, I urge my colleagues in the United States Senate to stand up in support of this legislation and bring it to the floor for a vote as soon as possible. Our democracy depends on it.”