The Democratic-controlled House approved a plan late Wednesday that would nullify state election laws, effectively nationalizing measures that Republicans argue have opened the door to vote fraud.
The House voted 220-210 along party lines to adopt HR 1, described by the Daily Signal as “a bill to nationalize election procedures that states now control.”
Critics argue the U.S. Constitution assigns to state legislatures the authority to establish election laws and procedures.
The issued erupted during the 2020 election when President Trump contested the outcome in six states, charging state officials did not follow their laws. In Pennsylvania, for example, the secretary of state ignored a state law setting Election Day as the deadline for receiving ballots by mail.
Democrat Joe Biden’s White House said in a statement the federal election takeover is “urgently needed.”
“As with any bill of this scope and complexity, the administration looks forward to working with Congress to refine provisions of HR 1 as it proceeds through the legislative process to ensure that the bill achieves lasting reform consistent with Congress’ broad constitutional authority to strengthen our democracy,” the White House said.
The bill effectively repeals state voter ID laws, allowing individuals to vote without a sanctioned ID by simply signing a statement declaring their identity.
HR 1 would give felons the right to vote and expand Election Day registration. It also would force taxpayers to fork over $6 to political candidates for every $1 the candidate raises.
Mail-in voting, which is highly susceptible to fraud, would be expanded. And the bill allows third parties, including political activists, to collect and deliver ballots.
It also would ban witness signature requirements for mail-in ballots and force states to expand the voting period. And it would insert partisan politics into the bipartisan Federal Election Commission.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the passage of the bill “reminds me of what it might have felt like at Valley Forge.”
Zack Pruitt, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, said the bill “tramples on the free speech and free association rights of American citizens.”
“Throughout its nearly 800 pages of complex and convoluted text, H.R. 1 imposes unworkable and invasive regulations on the ability of individual Americans and groups of citizens to discuss vital policy issues with elected officials or the public and to exercise constitutionally protected freedoms,” he said.
“The bill intrudes upon the private financial decisions made by everyday citizens, subjecting them to harassment and intimidation simply for giving to causes they care about,” said Pruitt. “Despite being called the ‘For the People Act,’ it is anything but that, as the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that ‘the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail.’ We hope the Senate will see through this façade and reject this misleading and deeply flawed bill.”
Democrats have campaigned on the claim that Republicans want to suppress the vote, particularly among minorities. Republicans argue voting requirements ensure illegal votes are not counted.
The bill faces long odds in the Senate because at least 10 Republicans would be required to join with the Democrats to achieve the required supermajority of 60 votes.
Some Democratic leaders want to eliminate the filibuster rule and hold a simple-majority vote. But several moderate Democrats from Republican-leaning states say that’s not an option.
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