Top Ten Problems with HR 1

As we wrote last week, Lawyers Democracy Fund (LDF) has a full analysis of the election administration portions of HR 1 and how they would centralize control of elections and harm election integrity.  LDF has also released a shorter document highlighting the top ten problems with HR 1:

If the bill were ever to become law, every state in the nation would be required to significantly alter their means and methods of registration and voting. The legislation was drafted without the input and insight of state and local election officials who are responsible for administering elections in this country.  Voting and registration have never been easier, and the real pressing need in elections is upgrading state voting equipment and election technology infrastructure across the country.

Here are the ten worst new federal mandates in HR1’s election administration section. These new requirements would apply to every state, regardless of existing state laws:

  1. Automatic voter registration, including using many colleges and universities as voter registration agencies and registering 16- and 17-year-olds.
  2. Abolish voter ID laws and only require a signature in the polling place to vote.
  3. Online voter registration without protections to verify the eligibility of the voter.
  4. Same day registration during early voting and on Election Day.
  5. Fifteen days of early voting, including minimum hours and requirements for locations.
  6. Restricting election officials’ efforts to maintain the accuracy of voter registration lists.
  7. Automatically restoring the right of felons to vote after release from prison.
  8. No-excuse absentee/mail voting with signature comparison verification available to all voters.
  9. Provisional ballots cast outside a voter’s precinct must be counted.
  10. Congressional redistricting done by an independent redistricting commission micromanaged by HR1’s provisions.

Many sections demonstrate the increasing federal control of elections in the bill: requiring federal control of election security, further centralizing election systems standards, and numerous new reporting requirements for election officials, including the gathering data on voters’ race and ethnicity. It would give more power over elections and oversight authority to the Election Assistance Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice.

The Heritage Foundation also released a Fact Sheet on HR 1 that outlines the risks posed by this legislation's provisions and the constitutional issues with many of them:

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. 

The RNLA will continue to follow this harmful legislation, which will surely be the focus of the Democrats' response to President Trump's State of the Union Address tomorrow.  The Democrats have decided that if the people do not wish to vote them into office, they will change the election rules to their advantage.  Fortunately, though while the House Democrats will likely pass HR 1 with little debate or inquiry, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that it will be dead on arrival in the Senate.  Thank you, Leader McConnell, for standing up for election integrity.