Opinion

Pelosi’s Radical ‘For the People Act’ Would Eviscerate Election Integrity

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Posted: Jan 28, 2021 12:01 AM
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Pelosi’s Radical ‘For the People Act’ Would Eviscerate Election Integrity

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) recently announced that “House Democrats are doubling down on our longstanding commitment to advance transformational anti-corruption and clean election reforms by again passing H.R. 1, the For the People Act.”

According to Pelosi, “Our democracy is in a state of deep disrepair. During the 2020 election, Americans had to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering and a torrent of special interest dark money just to exercise their right to vote.”

Pelosi is correct about the state of our democracy. However, she is wrong about voter suppression in the 2020 election.

In the November election, 66.3 percent of eligible voters cast a vote, the highest rate in a presidential election in more than 120 years.

Moreover, voting among minorities in 2020 reached all-time highs. Black voters exercised their right to vote in record numbers. Latinos did as well. In fact, in 2020, eight million more Latinos voted than compared to 2016, an increase of 63 percent.

The data contradict Pelosi’s claim about rampant voter suppression. Yet, that has not and will not stop Pelosi’s push to fundamentally change how Americans vote in future elections, which is exactly what HR 1 would do.

HR 1 is a massive bill, more than 800 pages long, that would supersede state legislatures’ constitutional right to set election procedures.

If passed, the For the People Act would require states to automatically register voters and offer same-day voter registration, even on Election Day. The legislation would also require states to offer early voting at least 15 days prior to the election.

The bill would also expand mail-in voting, eliminate rules requiring witness signatures and signature verification on mail-in ballots, require states to offer online voter registration, prevent states from “cleaning” voter rolls, prohibit prosecution of ineligible voters for being “mistakenly registered,” and allow felons to vote.

HR 1 would also grant Washington, DC statehood. “There are no constitutional, historical, fiscal, or economic reasons why the Americans who live in the District of Columbia should not be granted statehood,” according to the bill.

In totality, HR 1 is a simple bait and switch. Although Pelosi claims it is intended to curb election fraud, it would do the opposite.

First and foremost, the provisions expanding mail-in voting while eliminating signature verification and witness signatures would be a boon for election fraud. 

As Hans von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission, recently wrote, “Mail-in ballots are the ballots most vulnerable to being altered, stolen, or forged … Mail-in ballots also have a higher rejection rate than votes cast in person …Then there is the problem of mail-in ballots being miscarried or not delivered by the U.S. Postal Service … In addition, there have been problems with the Postal Service not postmarking ballots, making it impossible for election officials to determine whether the ballots were mailed in time to be counted.” 

More mail-in voting means more possibilities for malfeasance.

Such is why Amazon issued the following statement regarding mail-in voting in an upcoming unionization vote, “We believe that the best approach to a valid, fair and successful election is one that is conducted manually, in-person, making it easy for associates to verify and cast their vote in close proximity to their workplace.”

Pelosi and her House colleagues are well aware that widespread mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud. They also know that most of the other provisions in the 800-page bill would do little to boost Americans’ confidence in election integrity.

Perhaps House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said it best when describing HR 1 as a “massive federal government takeover that would undermine the integrity of our elections.”

If HR 1 becomes the law of the land, it is likely that more Americans will question the veracity of elections more than ever.

Democracy is fragile and relies upon public confidence in free and fair elections. The ill-named For the People Act would erode election integrity, invite voter fraud, and further divide the country along partisan lines. This bill is not a recipe for unity, but a sure-fire way to increase the power of Pelosi’s party, possibly for perpetuity.

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.orgis an editor at The Heartland Institute.