The Green Party of Virginia condemns multiple provisions of the recently introduced H.R.1, otherwise known as the For the People Act, which undermines third parties. The bill, while purporting to expand democracy, includes changes to rules governing the public financing of campaigns that are aimed squarely at limiting the participation of third parties.
Such provisions include section 5202(1)(a) which quintuples the amount of money that campaigns need to raise in order to qualify for federal matching funds. These funds are an incredibly important source of income for third parties, especially the Green Party which takes no corporate money. Raising the threshold for acquiring these funds does nothing to promote democracy, and by limiting the participation of third parties, does much to harm it.
Section 5212 furthers this injustice by eliminating the expenditure limits on campaigns that receive public funding. Under the current system, campaigns that take public funding are limited in how much money they can spend. This is meant to encourage campaigns to raise less funds from large donors. Eliminating the cap on who can receive campaign contributions means that Democrats and Republicans will still get those funds - no matter how much dark, corporate money they raise.
GPVA Co-Chair Ryan Wesdock said of H.R.1, "Effectively what this bill does is expand the ability of people to vote, while tightening controls on who they can vote for. In pushing the bill, Democrats have reached back to their roots, echoing the corrupt Democratic politician Boss Tweed who was famously supposed to have said, 'I don’t care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating.' We can't have a real democracy so long as the two major parties "get to do the nominating," no matter how easy it is to vote."
GPVA Press-Secretary Blaizen Bloom added, "This bill further reinforces corporate control of our already crippled democracy. Citizens United was a huge setback for democracy in America, but H.R.1 continues that assault by forcing corporate-free candidates out of the running and incentivizing increased corporate influencing of our elections. We must end this pay-to-play system that the corporate duopoly has created."
The Green Party instead calls for real democratic reforms like ranked-choice voting, proportional representation, public financing of elections, and eliminating dark money financing of elections. We encourage all Virginians to join us by signing our petition here: https://greenparty.good.do/democracy/STOPHR1/ learning more here: https://www.gp.org/hr1, and letting your representatives know you want real choices at the ballot box.