Ironically named "Freedom To Vote Act", S2747, follows failed "For The People Act", also known as HR1.
It is truly enraging but not surprising, that Democratic leadership is not rising to the occasion to do away with the Filibuster, an undemocratic Jim Crow relic, to protect and expand voting rights for everyone.
Against a Republican legislative juggernaut opposed to federal standards for early voting, vote-by-mail and voter registration [and enhanced] financial disclosure requirements for political groups, HR1 failed to pass.
The Green Party lobbied to amend HR1 to not increase the qualifying threshold for matching funds from the current $5000 minimum to $25,000. Now, Democrats have returned with an even harsher demands for qualification to access the ballot box under S2747.
Using the cover of advancing needed voting rights reform, Democrats seem more hell bent on making it near impossible for minor parties, like the Greens, to qualify for and retain ballot access. It also further entrenches the hold of moneyed interests on our elections.
The ‘Freedom to Vote Act’ (FVA) would deny possibilities to access public matching campaign funds by eliminating the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (a post Watergate measure). The FVA would permit party committees to contribute $10,000 (up from the current $5,000) to House candidates (including House candidates who qualify for matching funds). To qualify for Congressional matching funds, candidates need at least 1,000 contributors and $50,000 in contributions of $200 or less, a very tall order for a minor party candidate.
Party suppression is a form of voter suppression; the Green Party opposes the elimination of presidential matching funds and the increase in qualifying thresholds for matching funds. The latter are beyond the reach of most grassroots candidates, who often play a critical role in advancing the political discourse beyond the agenda or corporate and moneyed interests.
Functionally, “Without matching funds, minor parties and their presidential candidates are unlikely to appear on the general election ballot in many states,” said Michael Feinstein, former Mayor of Santa Monica and Green Party proponent of amending Democratic Party initiatives.
Pacific Greens call on our members and friends of democracy to contact their elected representatives and let them know you want them to amend the S2747. Click here https://www.gp.org/ftvact to ask your representatives know you also want voter choice; then share on social media.
Oregon Democratic Party representatives in the Senate and House need to know we are here to stay; we demand they take out the ‘poison’ pills that would disenfranchise voters from having candidates who represent their values.
The bad faith move by the Democrats, and multi-generational efforts by the Republicans to cancel out the Voting Rights Act of 1965, shows the need for widespread electoral reforms including voting for house members through proportional representation, ranked choice voting, meaningful campaign finance reform and the elimination of the electoral college.