Last month, Senate Republicans unanimously rejected the most brazen partisan power grab by either political party in modern memory.
The election overhaul legislation Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tried to ram through the Senate perverts the cause of voter access to hand one party unassailable political power. It alters the makeup of the bipartisan Federal Election Commission to give the Democratic Party an advantage. It gives political candidates federal funding to run television ads and buy yard signs. It takes away states’ power to outline their own congressional districts.
And it creates countless opportunities for fraud by allowing paid campaign operatives to collect ballots, tying states’ hands when it comes to maintaining accurate voter rolls, and preventing states from requiring identification to vote.
The reforms in this bill are not only out of line with the views of Republicans – they’re way out of line with the views of the American people.
The majority of Americans believe ballot harvesting should be illegal. They think states should be able to remove inaccurate or duplicate registrations from voter rolls. And they support voter ID laws, which are among the most common safeguards against fraud. Democrats not only disagree with the majority of Americans on each of these points – they’re trying to implement policies that do the opposite.
This bill was described using feel-good phrases like protecting the right to vote and strengthening our democracy. It even has a rosy name – the “For the People Act.” Democrats presented this legislation as the savior for what they describe as “the most sweeping attack on the right to vote since the beginning of Jim Crow.” But the facts tell a different story.
States across the country have passed laws to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat, and Democrats have slandered these laws as racist forms of voter suppression. They conveniently ignore the fact that many of these reforms make it easier to cast a ballot in red states than blue states.
The Georgia law, for example, expanded early in-person voting to 17 days. President Biden’s home state of Delaware won’t even offer early voting until 2022 and even then, voters will only have 10 days. Georgians have more time to request a mail-in ballot than New Yorkers. And they don’t even have to have a reason for voting absentee.
The voter suppression myth is just that – a myth. Voters turned out in record numbers for the 2020 election. Two-thirds of eligible voters cast a ballot, leading to the highest turnout in 120 years. This included a higher turnout for Black, White, Hispanic and Asian American voters.
Democrats continue to ignore, misrepresent or downright lie about the facts to justify a federal takeover of the election system. In fact, there’s already another bill waiting in the queue. This legislation is framed as a more moderate proposal, but it’s no less brazen.
Make no mistake – there’s no national assault on voting rights.
The Justice Department has the authority to take action against any state that discriminates on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group. That has been the case for more than half a century, through Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Democrats want to vastly expand that authority, virtually handing control of state election laws to the federal government.
Once again, the facts do not support such radical overreach. In the entire eight years of the Obama administration, the Justice Department only filed four enforcement cases under Section 2.
Make no mistake – there’s no national assault on voting rights. But the Democratic Party has waged an unmistakable war on states’ constitutional power to regulate their own elections. The first attempt failed, but Democrats will soon try to do through the back door what they failed to do through the front door.
The Democratic Party’s goal isn’t to reform our voting laws to increase participation – that’s the excuse. The goal, in fact, is to radically change our electoral system in a way that tilts the scales toward Democrats and gives them a permanent governing majority.
Just as we’ve seen with debates about the filibuster, court packing and proposals for new states, Democrats have a tried and true strategy – if you can’t win the game, try to change the rules.
The Senate already rejected one partisan assault on our nation’s election laws. When it’s time for the second attempt, we will do the same.