The House of Representatives this week passed the “For the People Act,” which would federalize virtually every aspect of elections and further undermine the American people’s trust in election integrity.
Few pieces of legislation have the potential to transform the American electoral system more than this 791-page bill. The “For the People Act,” which passed in the House along partisan lines, would radically alter everything we know about free and fair elections, effectively taking power from the states and granting it to the Federal government.
The bill makes numerous changes to voting procedures, including the following:
These are just the highlights of what this bill would implement. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted a video about the changes with a caption saying, “Democrats did not design #HR1 to protect your vote. They designed it to put a thumb on the scale of every election in America and keep the Swamp swampy.”
One change that actually will take people aback is the inclusion of taxpayer financing of campaigns. The “Freedom From Influence Fund” is ostensibly intended to combat influence from big donors and to encourage small donors. The fund will multiply any campaign donation of up to $200 by 600 percent, meaning that if a citizen donates $200 to a campaign, the government chips in another $1,200 to the campaign. The money for the fund would be raised from a new 4.75 percent surcharge on fines and settlement proceeds that corporations pay to the federal government.
This provision, along with the use of an independent commission rather than state legislators to redraw voting district lines every decade, caused Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to vote no on the bill, the only Democrat to side with Republicans. “My constituents opposed the redistricting portion of the bill as well as the section on public finances,” Thompson said in a statement to Fox News. “I always listen and vote in the interest of my constituents.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., however, lauded the bill, saying,
“What we are doing in this fight that we’re engaged in is to empower the people. This is called the ‘For The People’ bill. And in doing so, we combat big, dark, special-interest money in politics and amplify the voice of the American people.”
President Joe Biden has indicated that he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk. The White House issued a statement, saying,
“In the wake of an unprecedented assault on our democracy, a never before seen effort to ignore, undermine, and undo the will of the people, and a newly aggressive attack on voting rights taking place right now all across the country, this landmark legislation is urgently needed to protect the right to vote and the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen American democracy.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., however, argues that it will do the exact opposite.
“This bill makes elections less trustworthy, not more, and trust is everything,” he states. “People can see the faults in the process. Whether it’s ballots at the wrong house or careless verification processes, they believe people are cheating. You can’t just dismiss that. We have to fix it.”
“This bill makes permanent the problematic election practices that cause distrust. For example, ballot harvesting which creates serious chain of custody issues. Universal mail-in voting without safeguards, which creates the kind chaos where your ballot ends up in somebody else’s hands. Or forcing states to disregard their own voter ID laws and use sworn statements instead of an ID…. The integrity of our elections must be self-evident, where the mere possibility of fraud is improbable because the process itself is airtight and secure. Many states do not meet that standard. We should be working together to make elections more secure, not less.”
McCarthy charged, “Democrats want to use their razor-thin majority not to pass bills to earn voters’ trust, but to ensure they don’t lose more seats in the next election.”
The bill requires 60 votes to pass the Senate if the filibuster remains intact, but some Democrats have indicated they would be willing to eliminate the filibuster for electoral legislation.
If the bill were to somehow pass the Senate, 20 state’s attorneys general say they will sue to squash it on constitutional grounds. In a letter to the House of Representatives, they stated:
“Under both the Elections Clause of Article I of the Constitution and the Electors Clause of Article II, States have principal—and with presidential elections, exclusive—responsibility to safeguard the manner of holding elections. The Act would invert that constitutional structure, commandeer state resources, confuse and muddle elections procedures, and erode faith in our elections and systems of governance…. Should the Act become law, we will seek legal remedies to protect the Constitution, the sovereignty of all states, our elections, and the rights of our citizens.”
This expansive nature of this bill is difficult to comprehend. As has become common practice at the federal level, the bill is so lengthy (791 pages) that the average American (and most senators) will never read it. The legislative philosophy of “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it” continues to wreak havoc on the transparency of American governance.
Should it become law, this bill would severely undermine not only actual election legitimacy, but perceived election legitimacy.
Democrats have launched previous efforts to cast doubt on our election system, such as the infamous “hanging chad” recounts in the 2000 election and the since debunked Russia theory, which insisted that President Trump was elected in 2016 due to foreign interference. The 2020 election and Trump’s claims of election fraud shook the foundations of public trust in the nation’s elections, but long before Trump contested anything, voters, experts, politicians, and even judges were concerned about the security and integrity of both absentee and mass mail-in votes, as well as the emergency changes that had been made to longstanding election rules and procedures without legislative approval due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
This nationalized voting bill may do more harm to public trust than these other examples combined.
Derek Hunter at Townhall accurately pointed out that “Democrats are great at naming bills the reverse of what they really do. Pretty much anything they say, know they are actively working toward the opposite and the bills they push try to codify it into law.”
Just one piece of evidence proving his point is that even as Congress is pushing the new voting bill, House Democrats are seeking to overturn the 2020 election win of Iowa Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who won by six votes over Democrat Rita Hart. Although Miller-Meeks survived multiple recounts, was certified under Iowa law by state election authorities, and sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and seated in January, House Democrats recently began an investigation into whether ballots rejected under Iowa law should count so they can give the win to Hart.
As precedent, Democrats are relying on a 1984 case in which the Democratic House majority rejected the state-certified results of a close Indiana election won by Republican Richard McIntyre and instead conducted another recount. Using their own voter eligibility criteria after the fact, the Democrats refused to seat McIntyre and instead declared the losing candidate, Democrat Frank McCloskey, as the winner.
Democrats are showing that what they care most about is not the voters, but power. Whether it is the “Equality Act” or the “For the People Act,” these massive bills do anything but serve the public interest or promote unity. The voting bill would have catastrophic results and would either ensure Democrats never lose another election, or so undermine public trust in election results that they are done away with altogether.