The news is abuzz over the heroic action of the Texas Democratic Caucus that left the state to go to DC so the Texas government could not vote on a new election law. The left is all aflutter over the bravery of these elected officials in denying the Texas legislature the quorum it needs to vote on a bill. In the meanwhile back in DC the left is up in arms over a Senate rule that that allows the minority to hold up a vote, called the filibuster.
If one is wrong the other is wrong and if one is right the other is right. Regardless of political position one of the mainstays of American governance is the right of the minority to have its say. Are the Texas Democrats playing a political game, of course they are. Will they pay a price, that remains to be seen. Are they Hero’s or tools. your call.
The US House of Representatives passed HR 1 also known as “For the People Act.” The intent of this act is, as stated in the bill, “To expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy, and for other purposes.” While this sounds wonderful and people will question how anybody can oppose this, the answer is simple, it is an undemocratic intrusion on legitimate citizens voting power. Overall, the problem is that it intends to usurp State control over their election process and bring it under control of the federal government. If you recall from civics class, when they had such things, one of the main concerns of the States was an all-powerful central government. This bill is a move toward that. It limits the actions to elections for federal office, but to be serious the only election of a federal office that is nation wide is that of President/Vice-President. Senate and House elections are intended to vote in, or out, persons representing the State or districts.
In the first section of the act, titled Voter Registration Modernization,” it attempts to bring in the internet. Again, a noble objective with ignoble intent. I have no objection to using online registration but there has to be some form of validation. In an attempt to assure validation the applicant must:
(a) Requiring Availability Of Internet For Online Registration.—Each State, acting through the chief State election official, shall ensure that the following services are available to the public
“(1) Online application for voter registration.
“(2) Online assistance to applicants in applying to register to vote.
“(3) Online completion and submission by applicants of the mail voter registration application form prescribed by the Election Assistance Commission pursuant to section 9(a)(2), including assistance with providing a signature as required under subsection (c)).
“(4) Online receipt of completed voter registration applications.
“(b) Acceptance Of Completed Applications.—A State shall accept an online voter registration application provided by an individual under this section
“(1) the individual meets the same voter registration requirements applicable to individuals who register to vote by mail in accordance with section 6(a)(1) using the mail voter registration application form prescribed by the Election Assistance Commission pursuant to section 9(a)(2); and
“(2) the individual meets the requirements of subsection (c) to provide a signature in electronic form (but only in the case of applications submitted during or after the second year in which this section is in effect in the State).
“(c) Signature Requirements.—
“(1) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of this section, an individual meets the requirements of this subsection as follows:
“(A) In the case of an individual who has a signature on file with a State agency, including the State motor vehicle authority, that is required to provide voter registration services under this Act or any other law, the individual consents to the transfer of that electronic signature.
“(B) If subparagraph (A) does not apply, the individual submits with the application an electronic copy of the individual’s handwritten signature through electronic means.
“(C) If subparagraph (A) and subparagraph (B) do not apply, the individual executes a computerized mark in the signature field on an online voter registration application, in accordance with reasonable security measures established by the State, but only if the State accepts such mark from the individual.
In other words, almost anything counts as a signature, and anyone can register.
Next, the act demands that all eligible voters be registered automatically by other agencies such as motor vehicle departments when you get a driver’s license. This will be automatic, and the person needs to decline if they do not wish to be registered. All States must also allow for same day registration and mandate a minimum of 15-day early voting. It makes it very difficult for States to purge voter list of ineligible voters. It also allows for mail-in ballots for any reason and once an application for mail-in ballot is made it is considered a request for all future elections. It continues with prohibition of foreign entities election interference, which is already established in law. Demands that all candidates release 10 years’ worth of tax returns, guess who that is aimed at. Strengthens oversight of online political advertising, which depending on all is making decisions on what is wrong likely will run afoul of the 1st amendment. It declares the Supreme Court wrong in Citizens United and moves to remove large corporate contributions to political campaigns. Good luck with that. It also aims to end gerrymandering, again good luck.
There is a good deal more in this act, but the bottom line is that the Federal Government is imposing liberal ideology on States for the purpose of ensuring a left-wing voter majority. This will include those who should not be considered eligible or even existing. There is very little in this act that is designed to enhance citizens right to vote or protect that right. In fact, it does just the opposite. I do not think this has much chance in the Senate, but it may pass. There will be a number of lawsuits to come out of this and should the republicans recapture the house and senate in 2022 will be repealed. This bill of course is designed to make sure that does not happen.