Langevin Votes to Advance Landmark Voting Rights, Anti-Corruption and Ethics Reforms

Mar 3, 2021 Issues: Cybersecurity, Vote

Warwick, R.I. – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), a former Rhode Island Secretary of State, today voted for H.R. 1, the For the People Act, landmark legislation to protect and expand voting rights, safeguard elections, and restore integrity to government by prioritizing the needs of the American people over special interests. It passed the House by a vote of 220-210.

“In the wake of the 2020 election, my vote for the historic For The People Act is even more critical so the voices of Americans are not drowned out by special interests,” said Langevin. “Our democracy is precious, and we must do everything within our power to preserve it and ensure the will of the people remains at the heart of our government. From efforts to expand access to the ballot to curtailing dark money influence in our elections, this comprehensive reform is desperately needed.”   

In support of secure elections, H.R. 1 will require the development of a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions from cybersecurity threats and mis- and disinformation campaigns. The legislation will create automatic voter registration across the country, expand early voting and enhance absentee voting, and simplify voting by mail.

The legislation also prohibits voter roll purges like those seen in states like Ohio and Georgia and pushes to end partisan gerrymandering. To ensure stronger election security, the package provides additional federal support to modernize election technology, particularly related to paper ballots, and improves oversight of election system vendors. The election security measures grew out of the Election Security Act, which Langevin helped author as a member of the Congressional Task Force on Election Security.

Langevin’s bipartisan amendment to establish a Senior Cyber Policy Adviser on the staff of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and explicitly call out cybersecurity as an ongoing duty for the EAC was also included in the package; it was the only bipartisan amendment of 56 offered. The amendment is based on a recommendation from the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, on which Langevin serves.

To combat dark money influence, H.R. 1 brings regulations regarding online political ad disclosure in line with other media and requires all organizations involved in political activity to disclose large donors. To shine light on the true funding source for political spending, the legislation takes aim at “nesting-doll” campaigns in which one PAC contributes to another to avoid disclosure. To empower everyday voters, it creates a voluntary matching system for small donations funded by a new surcharge on corporate law breakers and wealthy tax cheats.

Further, the legislation promotes accountability by expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements for government officials, slowing the revolving door, and preventing Members of Congress from serving on corporate boards.