House Democrats’ first bill in the 117th Congress is called the “For the People Act of 2021.” From the sound of it, one might think that the legislation promotes American ideals of liberty, freedom and democracy.
It does anything but.
According to a report issued by The Heritage Foundation, the proposed statute — which has been assigned bill number H.R. 1 — contains a parade of horribles that will undermine election integrity across the nation, breed distrust in the accuracy of electoral results and discourage citizens from participating in the political process.
Make no mistake: These measures are designed to give Democrats a permanent electoral advantage in federal contests and to ensure that Donald Trump will never again win the White House.
Federalization of Election Laws
The first victim of the bill is federalism — the constitutional principle that rejects standardized national approaches to policy issues in favor of allowing states and local communities to address them based on the specific needs and interests of their citizens.
Such important societal developments as the abolition of slavery, the establishment of women’s suffrage and the advent of child labor protections were born out of such state laboratories of democracy.
The division of power between the federal government and the states also serves as an important check and balance against U.S. government overreach.
Yet despite the fact that Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution provides that the times, places and manner of federal elections “shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof,” H.R. 1 takes this power away from the states and federalizes the election process, imposing one-size-fits-all national mandates concerning voter registration and the voting process.
The Heritage report details how the House bill would override state laws and expand the categories of people who are eligible to vote.
For example, in some states, those who have been convicted of felony offenses are not permitted to vote even after they have completed their prison terms. In several others, felons who are released from incarceration can only regain their right to vote once they have completed their terms of parole or probation.
Despite the fact that states’ authority to decide when felons may vote derives directly from Section 2 of the 14th Amendment, H.R. 1 would override those state laws and mandate that felons’ ability to vote be restored the moment they are released from prison.
That such a law would violate the Constitution is of little importance, however, since it would allow millions of likely Democratic voters to be added to the electorate.
H.R. 1 also would require states to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register to vote, even though they are not yet old enough to cast a ballot.
Heritage explains that “when combined with a ban on voter ID and restrictions on the ability to challenge the eligibility of a voter,” this effectively guarantees that underage individuals will be able to “vote with impunity.”
This poses little concern to the left, since younger voters are a core Democratic constituency.
Unquestioned Voter Registration
The bill invites widespread election fraud by requiring that all states allow automatic voter registration, same-day registration and online voter registration.
Under automatic voter registration, all individuals — as opposed to “citizens” — from several state and federal databases must automatically be added to the voting rolls. According to Heritage, this will result in “large numbers of ineligible voters, including aliens” being registered to vote.
Same-day registration will also lead to rampant fraud.
The Heritage report points out that with same-day registration, election officials would have “no time to verify the accuracy of voter registration information and the eligibility of an individual to vote.” Further, it would prevent election officials from “anticipat[ing] the number of ballots and precinct workers that would be needed at specific polling locations.”
These features “make it easier to commit fraud and promote chaos at the polls.”
Additionally, online voter registration is “a recipe for massive voter registration fraud by hackers and cyber criminals,” according to Heritage. Indeed, the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has said that “online voter registration systems provide an additional point of vulnerability to enable cyber actors to gain access to voter registration databases and conduct … attacks.”
Not only is illegal voter registration a snap to do under this bill’s provisions; it would be virtually undetectable since the bill makes any oversight essentially verboten.
According to the Heritage report, the legislation forbids election officials from verifying the addresses of those who register to vote. Further, the bill makes it a crime for an election official “to reject a voter registration application,” even if the official believes the individual is ineligible to vote.
Moreover, since H.R.1 “substantially limit[s] the public release of voter registration information,” states Heritage, it would be “almost impossible” for nonpartisan watchdog groups to verify the accuracy of registration rolls. So much for transparency.
The clear result of these statutory provisions will be voter rolls that are larded with the names of people who have died or moved away. But that’s exactly what the Democrats want.
The House bill not only makes it easy to illegally register to vote; it makes it a breeze to actually cast a fraudulent ballot.
To begin, H.R. 1 pre-empts all state laws that require voters to present identification at the polls. The result of such a ban will be a surge in impersonation fraud at the poll sites.
Without any ID requirement, it stands to reason that fraudsters will have an easier time voting in the name of other legitimate voters, or in the name of voters who, although still on the rolls, have died, moved away or lost their right to vote as a consequence of a felony conviction.
While this is bad, most election fraud occurs where the voting is done by mail, according to the MIT Election Data and Science Lab:
“First, the ballot is cast outside the public eye, and thus the opportunities for coercion and voter impersonation are greater. Second, the transmission path for [mail-in] ballots is not as secure as traditional in-person ballots. These concerns relate both to ballots being intercepted and ballots being requested without the voter’s permission.”
H.R.1 would open the floodgates to this sort of criminality.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while absentee voting in several states requires an attestation that the voter is unavailable to vote in person on Election Day for one of several pre-approved reasons, a “no-fault absentee ballot” dispenses with the need to provide such an explanation.
H.R.1 requires that all states allow no-fault absentee balloting, which Heritage describes as “the tool of choice for vote thieves.”
And although many states require a witness or notary signature on an absentee ballot to ensure the integrity of the vote, H.R. 1 categorically abolishes such requirements nationwide.
The bill also requires states to allow ballot harvesting – a practice where third parties, typically campaign operatives, collect absentee ballots from voters’ homes and deliver them to election officials.
In a 2019 commentary for Heritage, senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky explained that harvesting “is a recipe for mischief and wrongdoing” because election officials cannot verify that “the ballot submitted in the voter’s name by a third party accurately reflects the voter’s choices and was not fraudulently changed by the vote harvester.”
Further, “there is no guarantee that vote harvesters won’t simply discard the ballots of voters whose political preferences for candidates of the opposition party are known.”
For these reasons, many states prohibit harvesting. H.R. 1 would override those laws and compel states to allow the practice.
The bill also delivers a powerful one-two punch against our system of checks and balances.
First, it grants federal executive agencies the authority to punish political adversaries, and second, it radically diminishes the ability of the courts to keep its coordinate branches in check.
The legislation includes a provision to “permit the IRS to investigate and consider the political and policy positions of nonprofit organizations before granting tax-exempt status, thus enabling IRS officials to target organizations engaging in First Amendment activity with disfavored views,” according to Heritage.
The proposed law also would establish a “Commission to Protect Democratic Institutions” which would have “the authority to compel judges to testify and justify their legal decisions, threatening their independent judgment and subjecting them to political pressure and harassment.”
Of course, eliminating the independence of the judiciary has long been a Democratic Party prerogative.
H.R. 1 would also limit access to federal courts for anyone challenging the legislation. According to Heritage, the bill “would prohibit the filing of any lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of H.R. 1 anywhere except in the District Court for the District of Columbia.”
Further, the proposed law would allow the court to order all plaintiffs, regardless of their number, “to file joint papers or to be represented by a single attorney at oral argument.” Heritage correctly notes that this would “severely [limit] the legal representation and due process rights of challengers.”
In other words, because Democrats can’t fully control what decisions courts make once cases are before them, they seek to manipulate the system to prevent cases from being brought in the first place.
It’s devious, dangerous and classically Democrat.
Despite its lofty name, the “For the People Act of 2021” does not advance free and fair elections, or any American value whatsoever. Instead, it’s something we’d expect from a third-world banana-republic dictatorship.
Those who think otherwise are dead wrong.
But if the Dems have their way, being dead and wrong would be no bar to voting.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.