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Local Activists Call For Election Reform

Isaiah Seibert

Just under twenty progressive activists rallied on the steps of the federal building in Evansville Thursday afternoon. They were celebrating the Democrats taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Whose house?" an organizer with a megaphone asked the crowd. "Our house!" the activsts shouted back. 

They were also rallying in support of House Resolution 1 (H.R. 1), an election reform bill from House Democrats. It’s a wide-sweeping proposal, but one of its key provisions is automatic voter registration. The bill would also put restrictions on gerrymandering and campaign finance.

Thursday’s rally was organized by Indivisible Evansville, a grassroots progressive group. It’s one of many Indivisible rallies across the nation. 

Indivisible Evansville Vice President Lisa Hale doesn’t expect the bill to make it to the president's desk. It would have to pass a Republican-controlled Senate. "But I think it’s important for the Democratic Party to stand up and say, 'This is what we are about. We are about the citizens having a voice in elected government,'" she said.

Edie Hardcastle, vice chair of the Vanderburgh County Democrats, was the main speaker. She agrees the bill will probably not become law, but she said it is a sign of what could come if Democrats gain control of the Senate and the White House.

The former Indivisible Evansville president said these nationwide rallies send a signal to elected officials. “One of those signals is a huge celebration just to revel in a day in that we now have a check on some of those abuses of power," Hardcastle said, "and to say that organizing works.”

Organizers urged the activists to call them representatives and ask for their support of H.R. 1. Hale doubts Congressman Larry Bucshon will support the bill. H.R. 1 was introduced Thursday, and the precise text has not yet been made public.

"When the text of the bill is released," a spokesperson for the Congressman's office wrote in an email to WNIN, "Dr. Bucshon will review it."