As GOP Opposes H.R. 1, Poll Finds Majority of Republicans Support Election Reform Bill

The reintroduction of a sweeping election reform bill has earned the criticism of Republican lawmakers, but a new survey found that a majority of their party's voters support the legislation.

In fact, the Data for Progress poll found H.R. 1—also known as the For the People Act—has broad public support. More than two-thirds of likely voters (68 percent) said they would back the proposal. Just 16 percent said they opposed it.

The support also transcended party lines, with 70 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independent or third-party voters and 57 percent of Republican voters expressing approval for the bill.

H.R. 1 would work to expand voter access, improve election integrity and security, revise rules for political spending and set out provisions related to ethics for all three branches of the federal government, according to a summary of the legislation.

Every single House Democrat signed on to the For the People Act on Monday, arguing it will help to "clean up corruption in Washington, empower the American people and restore faith and integrity to our government."

"The 2020 election underscored the need for comprehensive, structural democracy reform. Americans across the country were forced to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering and a torrent of special-interest dark money just to exercise their vote and their voice in our democracy," Representative John Sarbanes (D-Md.) said in a statement.

Sarbanes, the chair of the House's Democracy Reform Task Force, reintroduced the bill in the 117th Congress. "It shouldn't have to be this way," he said.

Republicans, on the other hand, have continued to mount opposition to the reform bill. Earlier this week, former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli announced he was launching the the Election Transparency Initiative to "act quickly to defeat the efforts of Democrats in Washington to federalize election laws through H.R.1, while simultaneously going on offense at the state level to rally the grass roots around meaningful reforms."

On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Democrats for attempting to "recycle failed legislation" with their renewed push to pass the For the People Act, calling it a "federal takeover."

Voter in South Carolina casts ballot 2020
A man votes at James Island Charter High School on November 3, 2020, in Charleston, South Carolina. A new poll found that more than two-thirds of likely voters (68 percent) said they would back a sweeping election reform bill. Michael Ciaglo/Getty

McConnell said the bill would allow Democrats to "grab unprecedented power over how America conducts its elections and how American citizens can engage in political speech."

Representative Byron Daniels (R-Fla.) made a similar argument in an editorial for Fox News. He wrote that H.R. 1 was the Democratic Party's "latest attempt to disregard the Constitution in their ruthless power grab in the form of 'election reform.'"

But the Data for Progress poll also found that a majority of respondents support major provisions of the bill. The measures that received the most support from likely voters were the prevention of foreign interference, limiting money in politics and increasing election security.

More than half of the respondents—58 percent—said they supported voting by mail, a method that was heavily used by nearly every state during the 2020 election because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Data for Progress poll was conducted between February 19 and 22. It surveyed 1,555 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.