This legislation –791 pages – is a monstrous federal takeover of elections and an assault on the First Amendment. AMAC is working to block this bill from ever becoming law.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will push it hard in the House of Representatives, as was done in the last Congress. It is sponsored by the Speaker and Representatives Sarbanes (D-MD) and Lofgren (D-CA). Its companion bill in the Senate is S.1, which was sponsored in the last Congress by New Mexico Senator Udall and 46 of his Democrat colleagues.
Leading conservative and Americans For Tax Reform Founder and President Grover Norquist characterizes the threat this legislation poses your freedom and liberty in this way:
“Congressional Democrats have a plan to forever keep Republicans from winning elections and influencing policy decisions with H.R. 1 in the House, and the similar S. 1 in the Senate. They want to empower the government to police more speech, force states to allow vote-by-mail and taxpayer funding of candidates, and silence Americans through fear by exposing their support for issue groups.”
The legislation is carefully written to appear sensible but is in fact deceptive in its effort to assert federal control over voting in our respective states and to build a government record of individual American’s exercise of our God-given and Constitutional right of free political speech.
There are numerous “egregious components” in this legislation.
First, this legislation would be in effect a federal takeover of how states conduct elections for Senators and Representatives, thereby inherently forcing voting election procedures for state and local office to conform to bill’s prescription for the election of Members of Congress.
Here is how the bill deceptively uses the Constitution and the limited prerogative it provides the Congress with respect to the election of Members of the House and Senate. Turning to the Constitution, Article, Section 4:
“The Times, Places, and Manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators.”
The bill grabs the phrase that “…the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such Regulations or alter such Regulations…” and effectively preempts in excruciating detail how the States should conduct the election of Members of Congress. The result is to put the States in the position of administratively having to conform to the provisions of H.R. 1, rather than face the added costs and confusion of having to maintain their pre-existing law and procedures. In effect, H.R. 1 unconstitutionally constricts and overrides the sovereignty of the States for the conduct of elections.
Here are some examples of the bill’s proposed takeover of all elections when state and local elections coincide with the federal election:
- Undermines states election oversight, like efforts to clean up old voter rolls.
- Prohibits requiring a state voter ID to obtain a mail in ballot and permits individuals to sign a sworn statement as to their identify in lieu of an official ID.
- Virtually eliminates any restrictions on vote-by-mail.
- Requires states to offer online registration.
- Requires states to allow same day registration and voting.
- Requires “automatic’ voter registration by the state of those who would otherwise be eligible to register to vote.
- Effectively permits “voter harvesting” – picking up and delivering bundles of votes — by making it criminal to interfere with those “assisting others to vote.”
- Enables partisan control of the Federal Elections Commission by reducing the Commission from 6 to 5 members, thereby effectively facilitating one party oversight of federal elections and campaign finance laws.
H.R. 1 also assaults your First Amendment right to freedom of political speech. In its effort to go after donors to conservative organizations, it would subject citizens who contribute to nonprofit organizations to political harassment and intimidation by making their personal information available in a searchable government database. In this connection, it would also force groups to publicly identify their supporters on the face of the ads themselves. (Ironically, this sounds like the FDA requirement that prescription drug advertisements must identify the hazards to your health of each drug.)
In its effort to further curtail political free speech by Americans about legislative issues, it would expand the definition of “electioneering communications” – historically limited to large-scale TV and radio campaigns targeted to the electorate in a campaign for office – to include online advertising that bears no relation to an election. In other words, letters, websites, emails, cell texts, social media messaging, and other online commentary on legislative issues by concerned American citizens and organizations would be redefined as “electioneering communications” – subject to some type of federal oversight.
This legislation must never be enacted, because it is intended both(i) to subvert the Constitution and the essential federalism of our republic to bring one-party control of our nation, and (ii) to limit your freedoms as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
AMAC Action will be initiating a membership-wide call-to-action in the near future to prevent passage of this bill. We need your help to amplify the voice of opposition to H.R. 1. Please look for details regarding this call-to-action on all AMAC media very soon.
If you would like more detail on H.R. 1 and its provisions, you may simply click here.