The House voted largely along party lines late Wednesday to pass a sweeping electoral reform bill known as H.R. 1.
The bill, which passed 220-210, would roll back a number of election integrity measures, including by weakening voter ID laws and mandating automatic voter registration and at least two weeks of early voting. Additionally, H.R. 1 would make it difficult to purge voter rolls and gives voting rights to former felons. A proposed amendment that would lower the voting age from 18 to 16 was defeated in the House and was not included in the final bill.
“This reminds me of what it must have felt like at Valley Forge,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) told reporters on Wednesday before a House-wide vote on the bill. “Everything is at stake. We must win this race, this fight.”
Pelosi added, “At the same time as we are gathering here to honor our democracy, across the country over 200 bills are being put together, provisions they’re putting forward, to suppress the vote.”
A nearly identical bill was passed by the House in 2019, but was not considered in the Senate, which was controlled by the GOP at the time. With the Senate currently tied 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris giving Democrats the tie-breaking swing vote, it is likely that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) will bring the measure up for a floor vote.
Republicans argued that state legislatures should have the final say on how to conduct elections in their jurisdictions.
“In this country, if the people who win elections want to hold onto power, they need to perform well, pass sound policies and earn the support of the voters again,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said on Wednesday. “House Democrats do not get to take their razor-thin majority — which voters just shrunk — and use it to steamroll states and localities to try and prevent themselves from losing even more seats next time.”