A new poll released this week by the Southern Poverty Law Center finds widespread public support in favor of the For the People Act (HR 1), a proposed federal law that would standardize federal elections, modernize voter registration, make voting easier, end congressional gerrymandering and prohibit many of the tactics now used in some states to suppress voting by people of color.
The survey of 1,000 registered voters nationwide, conducted for the SPLC by Tulchin Research, found that 67% of voters support the proposal, which passed the U.S. House in March and is awaiting action in the Senate. Just 21% were opposed.
The same majority of voters supported “enacting a federal law to establish nationwide baseline standards for voting registration and methods.”
The full results of the survey, conducted from March 30 through April 3, can be read here.
Fifty-five percent of voters also agreed that “a simple majority of Senators should be required to pass any bill in the U.S. Senate.” Currently, the Senate filibuster rule means that 60 votes, rather than 51, are needed to pass most major legislation.
“The results of this nationwide poll don’t come as a surprise: Americans across all ideologies, parties and regions of the country want to build a democracy that works for us all and allows every voter in the country safe, easy and equitable access to their fundamental right to vote,” said Seth Levi, SPLC chief strategy officer. “While certain politicians across the country and in Washington, D.C., continue telling dangerous and deadly lies about elections to protect their own power, Americans recognize that we should be providing more ways to cast a ballot, not fewer, and adopting voting options and protections nationwide that already exist in many states.”
Among the poll’s other findings:
- Voters used a diverse set of voting methods in 2020. Thirty percent reported they cast their ballot by mail; 26% voted in person before Election Day; 10% used drop boxes; and 8% voted absentee. Just 27% voted at the polls on Election Day.
- 80% of voters prefer to use their 2020 method of voting in future elections.
- Voters strongly support key elements of the For the People Act. Sixty-seven percent support guaranteeing voters in every state at least two weeks of early voting access; 69% support placing voter registration centers on high school and college campuses; 69% support preventing states from removing eligible registered voters from voting rolls; 70% support placing secure drop boxes in every voting precinct; 82% support ensuring voting access for people with disabilities; and 85% support ensuring that there are enough voting locations so that wait times never exceed 30 minutes.
- Voters strongly support independent redistricting commissions. Seventy-two percent support the statement that “our Congressional and legislative districts for elected office, including U.S. House and state legislative districts, should be determined by a local non-partisan, independent commission, not by the politicians representing these offices so they can draw lines that give them an advantage.”
- 56% support restoring the voting rights “for people who have been convicted of a felony and served their time in prison.”
“Americans want enough voting locations so they don’t wait in long lines, secure drop boxes at every precinct, ample early voting opportunities, restoration of voting rights to their neighbors with felony convictions and independent redistricting commissions,” Levi said. “And finally, they want the U.S. Senate to operate as most people understand legislative bodies to work in a democracy: majority vote rules.”
Image at top: U.S. Rep. John Lewis introduces HR 1, legislation that would strengthen the Voting Rights Act, with House Democrats on Jan. 4, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Douglas Christian/ZUMA Wire)