The new Democratic majority of the House of Representatives carefully crafted House Resolution 1 (H.R. 1) behind closed doors. The first House Resolution of each session is intended to be a symbolic designation for a major legislative priority for the majority of that Congress. This House of Representatives is seeking to drastically change how America administers and conducts its elections. H.R.1—officially titled: “To expand Americans' access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other purposes”—has only recently been released to the general public after being secretly crafted behind closed doors while hyped by the incoming Democrat majority.
According to the Washington Post, in late November:
Elements of the legislation include new donor disclosure requirements for political organizations, a system to multiply small donations to political campaigns, a mandatory new ethical code for the Supreme Court, an end to most first-class travel for federal officeholders, and a broad effort to expand voting access and reduce partisan gerrymandering… Asked if she expects buy-in on the legislation from Republicans, including President Trump, Pelosi suggested they could be swayed by public pressure. “Our best friend in this debate is the public,” she said.
Late last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, penned an op-ed in the Washington Post regarding this bill that Speaker Pelosi and her allies carefully crafted during the ongoing shutdown. McConnell keenly noted:
House Democrats won’t come to the table and negotiate to reopen government, but they’ve been hard at work angling for more control over what you can say about them and how they get reelected. They’re trying to clothe this power grab with clichés about “restoring democracy” and doing it “For the People,” but their proposal is simply a naked attempt to change the rules of American politics to benefit one party. It should be called the Democrat Politician Protection Act…
Even more egregiously, the legislation dedicates hundreds of pages to federalizing the electoral process. It would make states mimic the practices that recently caused California to incorrectly register 23,000 ineligible voters. It would make it harder for states to fix inaccurate data in their voter rolls. Yet the legislation declines to address the sketchy “ballot harvesting” that upended the result in North Carolina’s 9th District — perhaps because the practice is perfectly legal in California, where Democrats made huge gains in 2018.
The whole package seems tailor-made by Washington Democrats to help their D.C. attorneys descend on local communities, exploit confusion and try to swing elections. The antics we saw in Florida in November would be only the beginning.
Election law expert Christian Adams also noted perhaps the most worrisome provision expected in H.R. 1, in PJ Media:
But the biggest prize in H.R. 1 is to restore Justice Department approval powers over state election law changes, known as “preclearance.” This preclearance power, struck down by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder, is the one power that unites them all. Preclearance gave radical bureaucrats at the Justice Department Voting Section, where I used to work, the power to micromanage every single state election law behind closed doors.
Here’s how it worked: Whenever a state wanted to make an election law change, no matter how small, it needed approval from Washington, D.C. bureaucrats at the Department of Justice. Move a polling place, change the hours the election office is open, hire a new translator, change a precinct line, or move voting from the school gym to the school library? DOJ had to approve.
Require voter ID, allow citizenship verification, increase penalties for voter fraud, enact election integrity procedures or implement programs to clean rolls? DOJ had to approve…And now you see why the Left wants the power back.
For these reasons and among others, incoming National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) President, Iowa Sectary of State Paul Pate is strongly against this legislation in an article with the National Journal.
“This bill seems to be a huge federal overreach,” said Paul Pate, Iowa’s Republican secretary of state and the incoming president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, in a statement to National Journal. “No matter how well-intentioned, the provisions of the bill give the authority of overseeing and conducting elections and voter registration to the federal government. States are better prepared than the federal government to determine what is right for their residents…I will encourage Iowa’s federal delegation to soundly reject this attempt to federalize state election systems[.]”
You can view the entire text of H.R. 1 here. The RNLA will keep our members posted on this legislation proposed by House Democrats and will continue to decry the harmful effects of this legislation in its current form.