Joseph Klein, Fraud A blatant power grab. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed the inappropriately named “For the People Act” (H.R.1) on Wednesday evening by the largely party line vote of 220 to 210.
It now goes to the Senate. This bill, if enacted into law, will be a gift that keeps on giving to Democrats who care only about staying in power rather than securing the integrity of the electoral process. “This bill makes elections less trustworthy, not more,” said Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas.
The right to vote in a free and fair election requires procedural protections to ensure that elections are conducted in an honest manner. We must have guardrails to protect against potential election fraud, voter intimidation, illegal votes, and inaccurate vote counts. The American people’s willingness to accept the results of an election, whether a voter’s favored candidate wins or not, depends on their being convinced that the election was carried out in a legitimate manner. H.R.1 strips away any semblance of guardrails. Instead, H.R.1 creates multiple paths to election fraud, including the following:
Online Registrations: Let’s start with the provision that mandates online voter registration in federal elections, which would also allow registered voters to update their voter registration information online. With no more paper registration forms as backup, this is an invitation for hackers inside and outside the country to run amok. Hacking last year by one of Russia’s premier intelligence agencies of the Pentagon, intelligence agencies, nuclear labs, various cabinet department, and Fortune 500 companies should provide a clear warning that even highly secure systems are vulnerable. States’ voting registration databases will be easy pickings.
Same Day Registrations: States must offer same day registration for federal elections. This H.R.1 provision eliminates the opportunity for states to ensure against fraudulent registrations by illegal aliens or ineligible out-of-state residents who land in another state just in time to overwhelm the votes of eligible voters. Couple same day registration with the provision placing limits on states’ use of data systems shared with other states that collect voter registration records from multiple states to identify duplicate registrations data. The result is a smooth pathway to election fraud.
Felon Voters: H.R.1 prevents states from requiring that felons complete their entire sentence – including the payment of fines and restitution to the victims of their crimes – before becoming eligible to vote in federal elections. All that a felon needs is an out of jail free card to vote. Just look at what California has done as an example of the mischief this provision can cause. California released thousands of violent criminals from jail last year on the pretext of concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, decades before their original sentences would have ended. If H.R.1 had been in effect last year, unrepentant convicted murderers would have been able to vote in California in the 2016 presidential election so long as they were not still serving their sentences in “a correctional institution or facility at the time of the election.” The convicted murders wouldn’t even have had to serve out their post-incarceration terms of probation or parole.
Unlimited Mail-In Voting and Vote Harvesting: H.R.1 opens the floodgates to expanded mail-in voting in federal elections. Procedural protections are washed away. More fraud will come in with the tidal wave of mail-in ballots. H.R.1 requires states to allow any voter to vote by mail in federal elections, no questions asked. H.R.1 also permits voters to ask for mail-in ballots online or by phone. At the same time, a state is forbidden from requiring any voter identification other than the voter’s signature itself. Notarization or witness signatures requirements for mail-in ballots in federal elections are prohibited. Signature verification protections are significantly watered down. And H.R.1’s icing on the mail-in ballot cake is to require states to permit vote harvesting. This means that any persons with voters’ consent, including party hacks and ideologues with a vested interest in the election outcome, may collect completed mail-in ballots from multiple voters and return the ballots. There would be no limits on the number of ballots the third party collector may return on behalf of others.
As it happens, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on March 2nd regarding a challenge to two Arizona statutory voting procedure restrictions, one of which was aimed at strictly limiting the practice of vote harvesting. The question before the Supreme Court was whether Arizona’s restrictions run afoul of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that “result in a denial or abridgement of the right to vote on account of race.”
Concern over potential fraud and voter intimidation is a reasonable justification for voting procedures that are neutral on their face. It is common sense that unregulated vote harvesting by partisans is a recipe for fraud and intimidation of vulnerable voters trying to fill out mail-in ballots. But the attorneys challenging Arizona’s vote harvesting measure do not agree. They believe that restricting vote harvesting places more burdens on certain racial minorities than on other voters who want to ensure that their mail-in ballots are delivered to the right destination. This is a self-serving, unproven assumption that does not come close to outweighing the real potential for fraud and intimidation arising from unrestricted voter harvesting.
No Proof of Voter Identification Required: H.R.1 requires states to accept the word of an individual attesting to his or her identity and eligibility to vote in the election in lieu of requiring some independent documentary proof of identification. Just try to get through airport security without first presenting an official government ID for inspection. Voting is treated more cavalierly than many other less important activities where proof of an individual’s identity is required.
H.R.1 is far from the voting rights reform bill advertised by the Democrats. It is an invitation to election fraud and voter intimidation. So long as the Senate filibuster remains intact, the Democrats’ attempt at a power grab will hopefully come to an inglorious end – at least for the time being.