Democrats are always eager to tinker with the voting system in ways that benefit their candidates. At least one member of their party isn’t going along with it this time.
Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson voted against the For the People Act of 2021, a bill he co-sponsored, according to the Daily Caller. The bill, also known as H.R. 1 as a symbolic nod to its importance, passed Wednesday in the House of Representatives 220 to 210.
Thompson was the only Democrat to go against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and vote with Republicans. He said he did so because it aligned with the will of the people who put him in office. “My constituents opposed the redistricting portion of the bill as well as the section on public finances,” Thompson told Fox News. “I always listen and vote in the interest of my constituents.”
Redistricting usually takes place every 10 years coinciding with the U.S. Census, and this bill would put the task into the hands of redistricting into commissions in each state independent of the legislature. The financing Thomas objected to would match campaign contributions 6:1 with government funds collected from increasing certain civil settlements and criminal penalties.
The bill gets worse from there by bestowing voter rights on certain felons and “automatically” registering other voters. It also would prohibit lawmakers from purging voter rolls and expand absentee voting and early voting.
Campaign finance tweaks include additional rules for disclosing donors to campaigns and adding new disclaimers on candidates’ ads. The legislation would also require 10 years of tax returns released for presidential candidates who become their party’s nominee.
The bill will face an uphill battle as it moves on to the Senate where it will require 60 votes required for passage. Currently, Democrats and Republicans are tied 50-50 and would require additional GOP support.
While these sound like noble causes, the reality is that expanding voter access actually provides more opportunities for fraud. In addition, taking redistricting out of the hands of elected officials just means that an unelected board — which has no accountability to the will of the people — would be in charge. Thompson was smart to recognize that and courageous enough to break with his party.