Democratic leaders no longer even try to hide their real objectives. All of the bills introduced by Democratic lawmakers have been undisguised power grabs.
Having been well pleased with the flexibility in voting methods the pandemic allowed them, and certainly with the result of the election, party leaders decided to make these changes permanent. The result was the passage of H.R. 1, the “For the People Act of 2021,” (the Act), by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Noting the gross overreach by the federal government in the bill, the attorneys general of 20 states penned a letter to Congressional leadership which can be viewed here.
This group of top law enforcement officers write that “it is difficult to imagine a legislative proposal more threatening to election integrity and voter confidence.” They make the case that H.R. 1 strips the state legislatures of their constitutionally granted authority to determine how elections will be held in their states.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, the leader of this group and the first signer of the letter, issued a statement to Fox News which read in part, “This monstrosity of a bill betrays the Constitution, dangerously federalizes state elections, and undermines the integrity of the ballot box. As a former chief election officer, and now an Attorney General, I know this would be a disaster for election integrity and confidence in the processes that have been developed over time to instill confidence in the idea of ‘one person, one vote.’”
The letter begins: “As introduced, the Act betrays several Constitutional deficiencies and alarming mandates that, if passed, would federalize state elections and impose burdensome costs and regulations on state and local officials. Under both the Elections Clause of Article I of the Constitution and the Electors Clause of Article II, States have principal — and with presidential elections, exclusive — responsibility to safeguard the manner of holding elections. The Act would invert that constitutional structure, commandeer state resources, confuse and muddle elections procedures, and erode faith in our elections and systems of governance.”
It states further that “the Act regulates ‘election for Federal office,’ defined to include ‘election for the office of President or Vice President.’ The Act therefore implicates the Electors Clause, which expressly affords ‘Each State’ the power to ‘appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,’ the state’s allotment of presidential electors, and separately affords Congress only the more limited power to ‘determine the Time of chusing the Electors.’ That exclusive division of power for setting the ‘manner’ and ‘time’ of choosing presidential electors differs markedly from the collocated powers of the Article I Elections Clause, which says that both States and Congress have the power to regulate the ‘time, place, and manner’ of congressional elections.”
“That distinction is not an accident of drafting,” the group maintains. “After extensive debate, the Constitution’s Framers deliberately excluded Congress from deciding how presidential electors would be chosen in order to avoid presidential dependence on Congress for position and authority.”
They cite a Supreme Court ruling in the case of McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1, 27 (1892) in which the court upheld “a Michigan statute apportioning presidential electors by district.” The court “observed that the Electors Clause ‘convey[s] the broadest power of determination’ and ‘leaves it to the [state] legislature exclusively to define the method’ of appointment of electors.”
“The exclusivity of state power to ‘define the method’ of choosing presidential electors,” write the attorneys general, “means that Congress may not force states to permit presidential voting by mail or curbside voting, for example.”
The group notes the Act’s “regulation of congressional elections” which includes “mandating mail-in voting, requiring states to accept late ballots, overriding state voter identification (“ID”) laws, and mandating that states conduct redistricting through unelected commissions [gerrymandering], also faces severe constitutional hurdles.” Rather than “acting as a check,” Congress is “seizing the role of principal election regulator.”
The letter excoriates the Democrats’ proposal to eliminate voter ID laws which the group writes is “perhaps” the “most egregious” feature of the bill. It also cites the Act’s attempt to put limitations on how states can purge voter rolls of those who have left the state.
“The Act would dismantle meaningful voter ID laws by allowing a statement, as a substitute for prior-issued, document-backed identification, to “attest [ ] to the individual’s identity and . . . that the individual is eligible to vote in the election.” This does little to ensure that voters are who they say they are.”
Identification is required for everything in modern life. I went to a Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles facility several months ago to renew my driver’s license. In Connecticut, a trip to the DMV requires several hours. Finally working my way to the front of the line, I presented my passport, social security card, even my birth certificate – complete with a raised seal. I had forgotten, however, to bring two pieces of mail from my address of the last 27 years, so I would not be allowed to receive a “REAL ID,” one that could be used to board an airplane. Unless I wanted to do all of this over again, I would be issued a “standard” license that stated “Not for Federal Identification” on its face. Deciding that I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than repeat this exercise anytime soon, I opted for the standard license.
Voting is one of the most sacred privileges of a U.S. citizen. There is only one reason for waiving the voter ID requirement. And that is because it facilitates voter fraud. It’s that simple.
The attorneys general conclude with the following message. “Despite recent calls for political unity, the Act takes a one-sided approach to governing and usurps states’ authority over elections. With confidence in elections at a record low, the country’s focus should be on building trust in the electoral process. Around the nation, the 2020 general elections generated mass confusion and distrust — problems that the Act would only exacerbate. Should the Act become law, we will seek legal remedies to protect the Constitution, the sovereignty of all states, our elections, and the rights of our citizens.”
In their quest for absolute power, Democrats have forgotten that the United States is a constitutional federal republic. Our government “is based on a Constitution which is the supreme law of the United States. The Constitution not only provides the framework for how the federal and state governments are structured, but also places significant limits on their powers.” (Emphasis added.)
Finally, “‘federal’ means that there is both a national government and governments of the 50 states.” Under the federal system of government, state legislatures are granted the power to determine election laws in the state.
Blinded by their lust for power, Democrats are ignoring the Constitution and showing complete disregard for the rule of law. The fact that 20 attorneys general have come forward to threaten “legal remedies” to protect the Constitution, the sovereignty of all states, our elections, and the rights of our citizens,” if this bill becomes law, speaks volumes.
The National Constitution Center, a left-leaning think tank, provides the weak counter-argument to the belief that states have the right to set their own regulations concerning elections. They claim that the Elections Clause “vests ultimate power in Congress.” They write that the Framers “were concerned that states might establish unfair election procedures or attempt to undermine the national government by refusing to hold elections for Congress.”
The NCC website states: “Although the Elections Clause makes states primarily responsible for regulating congressional elections, it vests ultimate power in Congress. Congress may pass federal laws regulating congressional elections that automatically displace (“preempt”) any contrary state statutes, or enact its own regulations concerning those aspects of elections that states may not have addressed. The Framers of the Constitution were concerned that states might establish unfair election procedures or attempt to undermine the national government by refusing to hold elections for Congress. They empowered Congress to step in and regulate such elections as a self-defense mechanism.”
I am not a lawyer, but I believe the opposite is true, that the Framers were more concerned with endowing the states with sovereignty.
A final decision on this case may ultimately require an interpretation of the Tenth and Eleventh amendments by the Supreme Court.
So far, however, perhaps because they feel vulnerable over Democrats’ threats to pack the court, the justices have repeatedly rejected attempts to get pulled into political disputes. Rather than being mere “political disputes,” I see them as questions requiring constitutional interpretation. And isn’t that why we have a Supreme Court?
This bill may never need to be settled by the Supreme Court. Hopefully, it will fail in the Senate. In March 2019, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked an earlier version of the “For the People Act.”
(Note: After the new version was introduced in January, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson addressed the features of this proposed legislation on his show. He concluded that if H.R. 1 were to become law, it would “enshrine fraud.” A video of Carlson’s excellent analysis can be viewed here.)