Grijalva Supports HR 1, Highlights Many Ways it Increases Justice and Democracy in U.S. Territories Long Denied Political Representation

Washington D.C. – Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today announced his support of the For The People Act (H.R. 1) ahead of House passage of the bill, cheering the inclusion of hard-fought provisions to increase voting rights, justice and democracy in the U.S. Territories.  

“The For The People Act is a transformational clean elections reform package that protects our access to the ballot box, reduces the influence of big money in politics, strengthens ethics rules for public servants, and implements anti-corruption measures to protect our democracy,” Grijalva said. “Millions of people living in U.S. Territories have weak or limited representation in Congress despite many of them being citizens and following federal laws. It’s time to stop treating millions of Americans like second-class citizens just because of where they live. It’s anti-democratic. The For the People Act seeks to remedy this injustice. I’m grateful for my partners in securing these inclusive principles in today’s bill, and I look forward to our continued efforts to strengthen democracy and representation for these jurisdictions in the years to come.” 

“The people of the Marianas are committed to self-government through democracy, turning out to vote at the highest rates in our nation,” said Insular Affairs Vice Chair Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-CNMI). “Yet our self-government is limited, because we cannot vote for President and lack full voting representation in Congress. H.R. 1 does not solve that problem, but at least H.R. 1 acknowledges the problem exists. I look forward to the report of the Task Force on Voting Rights and its recommendations on achieving full and equal voting rights for the people of the Marianas and other non-state areas.”

“I am proud to have authored and championed the provision included in H.R. 1, For the People Act, to establish a Congressional Task Force to review federal voting rights and election issues facing the U.S. territories, and to require recommendations to Congress on providing U.S. citizens residing in the U.S. territories with equitable voting representation in Congress, voting rights in the presidential election, and full and equal treatment under other federal voting and election laws,” said Rep. Stacey E. Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands). “I hope to honor my late colleague, Congressman John Lewis, and all those who came before us by continuing to fight for our equal right to vote. The nearly four million people who live in U.S. territory are not the subjects of a king or a master. They are American citizens. While they live in America, their interests will not be fully represented within the government of the United States until they have full and equal voting rights, just like other Americans.”

“The inclusion of an official Task Force in the Bill to study Territorial voting rights and work to enhance Territory inclusion is a Major step towards bringing along all Americans, and is most welcomed,” said Rep. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-Guam).  

As Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, Grijalva has made it his mission to advance justice and equity in the U.S. Territories by working to extend full voting rights, expand access to federal programs and resolve Puerto Rico’s political status. Currently, U.S. citizens in the territories are unable to vote in presidential elections and lack voting representation in Congress. Despite being qualified for military service and being treated, in other respects, as full Americans, close to 3.5 million otherwise eligible men and women were barred from participating in the 2020 general election despite its enormous impact on their lives. Blocking territorial residents from fully participating in our democratic processes limits their ability to make Congress take their needs seriously. 

Among its other improvements, the For The People Act establishes a 12-member Congressional Task Force on Voting Rights of United States Citizen Residents of Territories of the United States, to be terminated upon issuing its report to Congress. Task Force members will be appointed by the Speaker of the House, the House minority leader, the Senate majority and minority leaders, and various members of majority and minority leadership across several committees.  

Read more about how H.R. 1 increases justice and democracy in U.S. Territories at http://bit.ly/3kSXoDn.

Read more about how H.R. 1 strengthens our democracy at https://bit.ly/3sG0j4M.

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