Evasively titled, the “For the People” Act of 2019, H.R.1 is Speaker Pelosi’s signature piece of legislation for the 116th Congress. Under consideration for almost two years now, the legislation paves the way for the transfer of greater power over elections into the hands of the federal government. In sum, it seeks to legitimize many of the questionable practices put into place during the 2020 election, interfering with the states’ ability to make determinations on those practices.
Heritage scholar and election expert Hans Von Spakovsky summarized the bill in February of 2019:
“H.R.1 federalizes and micromanages the election process administered by the states, imposing unnecessary, unwise, and unconstitutional mandates on the states and reversing the decentralization of the American election process—which is necessary for protecting our liberty and freedom. The bill interferes with the ability of states and their citizens to determine qualifications for voters, to ensure the accuracy of voter registration rolls, to secure the integrity of elections, to participate in the political process, and to determine the district boundary lines for electing their representatives.”
This episode originally aired on June 1, but the conversation couldn’t be more relevant. Hans von Spakovsky, of the Heritage Foundation's Election Law Reform Initiative, joined me to examine how to avoid voting chaos and make elections more trustworthy.https://t.co/zryReRXvNY pic.twitter.com/cPFxHkEcTM
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) November 12, 2020
Specifically, the bill states as its overarching goals a plan to “expand[s] voter registration and voting access and limits removing voters from voter rolls.”
Here are some of the changes H.R.1 would bring if passed:
- It would regulate states in implementing “early voting, automatic voter registration, same-day registration, online voter registration, and no-fault absentee balloting.”
- Implements same-day voter registration, a potential nightmare for poll workers’ ability to effectively verify the accuracy of voter information.
- Allows all states to institute early voting, which can be disadvantageous to voters because sometimes an early voter is not as fully informed with up-to-date information on candidates and issues.
- Automatic voter registration from massive databases, like the DMV or welfare offices, adding to the potential to add large numbers of ineligible voters or duplicate voters to the rolls.
- Requires states to allow felons to vote the moment they are released from prison. Section ll of the 14th amendment gives states the right to decide that timing. Congress cannot override a constitutional amendment with a statute.
- Re-districting—takes it out of the hands of legislatures and puts it into the hands of “independent commissions whose members are unaccountable to voters. Mandates inclusion of alien population, both legal and illegal, in all redistricting.“
- Reduces the number of members on the Federal Election Commission from six to five, “allowing the political party with three commission seats to control the commission and engage in partisan enforcement activities.“
- Voter ID laws removed, allowing voters to show up without proof of who they are.
- Will “Prevent election officials from checking the eligibility and qualifications of voters and remove ineligible voters. This includes restrictions on using the U.S. Postal Service’s national change-of-address system to verify the address of registered voters; participating in state programs that compare voter registration lists to detect individuals registered in multiple states, or ever removing registrants due to a failure to vote no matter how much time has gone by.”
- Requires ballots be counted outside of the voter’s precinct. This removes the local government’s integrity to verify voter rolls and oversee elections and gives the power to count votes entirely to the federal government.
- Internet-only registration with electronic signature submission.
- A ban of the requirement to provide a full SSN for voter registration.
- Allows the use of taxpayer dollars to fund candidates.
- Requires candidates for Vice President and President to submit 10 years of tax returns.
The 2020 General Election is still being investigated for alleged widespread fraud. There are reasons the Constitution is clear about the jurisdiction of election laws. The story is still untold about what actually took place in November and the changes made in service of the pandemic that may have affected the outcome of the election. One thing is sure, for a good slice of the American electorate, their trust in future free and fair elections has been shaken to the core.