Will County area members of Congress back sweeping voting rights bill

‘We have a responsibility to safeguard American democracy for future generations’

Democratic members of Congress representing the Will County area backed a sweeping bill meant to enhance voting rights.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives last week approved H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which proponents argued would address corruption and practices that hinder the right to vote.

“I was proud to vote for this historic legislation to defend the health and wellbeing of our democratic system,” U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to safeguard American democracy for future generations, and that means getting to work to restore the public’s faith in political institutions.”

H.R. 1 would expand automatic voter and same day registration, end partisan gerrymandering, promote digital advertising transparency, force the disclosure of “dark money” and rein in the influence of lobbyists, among several other provisions.

“The American people deserve a system of government that works for all Americans, not just the well-connected or wealthy campaign donors,” Foster added in the statement. “This legislation is a vital first step to returning to the fundamental principles of our democracy and a government by the people, for the people.”

The legislation includes U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood’s amendment to collect data on the effects of the bill’s voluntary small dollar financing program on the diversity of candidates running for public office.

“Contrary to the democratic principles of our Constitution, our political system unfairly favors the powerful, drowning out the voices of many of the people I represent in northern Illinois,” Underwood said in a statement. “H.R. 1 takes bold action to deliver on the unfulfilled promise of a government by and for the people by protecting the right to vote, preventing foreign interference in our elections, fighting corruption, and increasing transparency in campaign finance.”

The Senate, a chamber Democrats narrowly control, will need to approve H.R. 1 for it to become law.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.