900 Political Scientists Call on Congress to Pass the For the People Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Over 900 political scientists signed a letter on Tuesday urging the Senate to pass the For the People Act. The letter, spearheaded by professors at UCLA, Stanford, Berkeley and the University of Washington, warned that American democracy is facing a crisis and that legislative action is desperately needed to protect the right to vote. Unlike other letters signed by corporate leaders, the scholars specifically call out the Republican Party for their efforts to suppress the vote and disenfranchise voters of color and young people. “This is by design,” the authors write, “the purpose of these laws is to ensure that Republican-leaning voters constitute a majority of votes cast, even if they are a minority of the electorate.”

The letter urges the Senate to pass the current version of the For the People Act, which includes provisions that would “counteract these threats to democracy by expanding voting access, creating new campaign finance and ethics rules that make officeholders more accountable to voters, and stopping extreme partisan gerrymandering.” In a nod towards Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) proposed modifications to the legislation, the scholars write that while they understand that sometimes compromises must be made, stronger voter ID laws are an unproven and unnecessary attempt at preventing voter fraud. “In a democracy, the exacting burden of proof should be on those who seek to burden or restrict the franchise. And this is a burden that proponents of voter ID laws simply cannot meet.” 

Read the letter here.