Is H.R. 1 Really “for the People?”

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In January, House Democrats introduced their signature piece of legislation, H.R. 1, the “For The People Act.” H.R. 1 is full of unconstitutional and unnecessary policies that liberals want to use to hijack America’s election processes. This bill is anything but “for the people.”

Free and fair elections are the bedrock of American government. They are fundamental to our way of life and give us confidence in our representative system. House Democrats cloak H.R. 1 in the guise of transparency and fairness but in reality it is a partisan scheme to squelch Republican candidates and conservative voices. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell aptly coined this bill the “Democrat Politician Protection Act” for its unprecedented attempt to seize control of elections through federal government power.

If H.R. 1 were to become law, the consequences would be nothing short of catastrophic for our election system. Here is a specific look at what H.R. 1 does and the effect it would have on our country.

1. H.R. 1 forces taxpayers to finance politicians’ campaigns

The bill contains two separate provisions that force taxpayers to fund politicians’ campaigns.

First, the “My Voice Voucher” redistributes $25 in taxpayer dollars to each “qualified individual” to give to political campaigns in as little as $5 increments. The program is capped at $10 million in federal funds per participating state.

A second provision allows any campaign that raises donations between the amounts of $1 and $200 to be able to match those donations with federal funding, dollar for dollar, up to 600 percent, i.e. a 6-1 match ratio. The matching contribution has a sliding scale cap based on previous election cycles, but no hard dollar amount cap.

These two provisions force taxpayers to fund candidates they disagree with. Imagine an American watching television during an election cycle and seeing an advertisement for a politician who they oppose, knowing that their hard-earned tax dollars are funding that very advertisement. This is a gross abuse of taxpayer funds.

2. H.R. 1 eliminates the ability of states to control their own elections

The bill contains several provisions that together amount to a hostile takeover of state-run elections. This bill would force states to enact same-day voter registration, automatically register voters, implement online voter registration, allow voters to cast ballots outside of their precinct, keep ineligible voters on voter rolls in perpetuity, register voters without verifying eligibility, and allow people to vote without showing any identification.

Same-day registration does not give officials enough time to verify the truthfulness of the information provided. Automatically registering voters risks the registering of illegal immigrants and ineligible voters. Online voter registration makes it much easier for hackers and cyber criminals to commit massive voter registration fraud. Counting ballots outside of assigned precincts increases the likelihood of improper vote observation and monitoring. Preventing election officials from verifying voter eligibility disrupts the integrity of the election process. Allowing people to show up to the polls and vote without a state ID would completely destroy the effectiveness of the already existing state voter ID laws that are in place to prevent fraud from happening.

Each of these provisions on its own provides known pathways for bad actors to commit election fraud and, taken all together, represent a breathtaking commandeering of our election systems in a way that eviscerates common-sense protections against fraudulent voting.

3. H.R. 1 undermines the First Amendment right to free speech

H.R. 1 goes completely off the rails and unconstitutionally increases government censorship over political campaigns, activity, and speech. Using a very vague standard, the bill regulates any speech that is deemed threatening to a federal candidate or election official, forces groups to publicly identify donors, regulates speech about legislative issues, regulates online political speech, forces groups to file reports with the Federal Election Commission when they sponsor political ads, imposes burdensome disclaimer requirements for issue ads, and much more.

Even the American Civil Liberties Union, a champion of the left-wing agenda, has come out against H.R. 1 for the bill’s attack on freedom of speech.

H.R. 1 operates under the “guise” of being “for the people”, but it actually helps politicians and campaign finance attorneys much more than public citizens.

The bill discourages organizations and private citizens from speaking publicly and makes politicians less accountable to the people because civic groups and organizations would be forced to dedicate their resources towards legal and administrative costs instead of advocacy activities.

4. H.R. 1 eviscerates the right of states to draw their own congressional district lines

The bill strips the power of state governments to regulate their own congressional district lines by forcing independent redistricting commissions on states. This requirement would take away the ability of voters to make their own choice about how congressional districts are drawn. It replaces elected representatives with unelected, unaccountable, redistricting bureaucrats.

While nearly all Americans despise the process of gerrymandering, the remedy is not for the federal government to force a one-size-fits-all solution onto states and American voters. In an ironic twist, this provision would kill off any independent commissions or similar bodies already chosen by voters in many states. Americans are keenly aware of the power inherent in the drawing of congressional lines, and the Democrats’ effort to ensure this power is used in a way they see fit is a blatant attempt to draw more districts that favor Democrats.

Conclusion

Although Democrats are promoting H.R. 1 as a bill that would “strengthen our democracy and return political power to the people,” it is actually an anti-democratic bill that would wreak havoc on our election system by manipulating election rules in favor of Democratic politicians. H.R. 1 is nothing but a left-wing power grab and is definitely not “for the people.”


Used with the permission of Heritage Action for America, a project of the Heritage Foundation. Copyright terms: human-readable-summary / full license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5.