Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, March 4, 2021
House Democrats on Wednesday passed H.R. 1, their election reform legislation which they call the “For the People Act”.
The legislation passed in a mostly party-line vote of 220-210. Only Democrats voted in favor. All Republicans and Mississippi Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson were opposed.
The bill would void state voter-identification requirements and make widespread mail-in voting permanent. It would require states to offer online and same-day voter registration as well as 15 days of early voting nationwide.
For mail-in ballots, the legislation would mandate that states would be required to count ballots received within 10 days after Election Day.
“Election laws should make it easy to vote and hard to cheat, but this bill would not only make it easy to cheat, it would effectively make it legal to cheat,” said Kentucky Republican Rep. Andy Barr. “At a time when half of Americans have lost confidence in the integrity of our elections, this bill will only drive distrust and division higher.”
The legislation would also mandate the creation of independent commissions to draw voting districts in each state, taking that power away from the party which controls state legislatures, which at the current time happens to be Republicans in 30 states and Democrats in only 18.
“This monster must be stopped,” former President Donald Trump said in his Feb. 28 address at CPAC, his first public remarks since leaving office. “It cannot be allowed to pass.”
The Democrats’ “monster” also restructures the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as a partisan majority-rule campaign regulatory agency.
The legislation also creates extensive new restrictions on freedom of speech during campaigns, in part by overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court case which had dissolved certain limits on corporate and union political spending. The legislation would also prohibit coordination between super PACs and political candidates.
The bill also requires disclosure of donors to religious and nonprofit advocacy groups, and enables incumbent congressmen and their challengers to receive a salary from campaign funds.
Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough noted in a social media post:
“The Democrats’ push for one-party rule includes HR1. Public Interest Legal Foundation did an analysis. For one, you don’t need to be a U.S. citizen to vote.”
The bill, Scarborough noted, also:
• Forces states to implement early voting, automatic voter registration, same-day registration, online voter registration, and no-fault absentee balloting
• Requires states to automatically register all individuals as opposed to “citizens” from state and federal databases
• Mandates no-fault absentee ballots and bans witness signature requirements for absentee ballots
• Forces states to accept absentee ballots received up to 10 days after Election Day
• Prevents election officials from checking the eligibility and qualifications of voters and from removing ineligible voters
• Restores the ability of felons to vote
• Transfers the right to draw congressional districts from state legislatures to “independent commissions”
Democrats are pressing to get the bill signed into law to prevent Republicans from winning the House back in 2022.
The GOP currently has the power to redraw congressional maps in the 2021 redistricting process which could give them the edge in the 2022 midterms and beyond.
“If we can get this done and into law in the next few months, there will be enough time to implement many of these things in time for the 2022 midterm election, including how reforming how this redistricting is done,” Maryland Democrat Rep. John Sarbanes said.
Unless Democrats find the votes to end the filibuster, however, the bill is seen as dead on arrival in the Senate.
In the Senate, all 48 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them would need to be joined by 10 Republican senators to overcome a filibuster.
Joe Biden said he would sign the bill into law if it cleared both the House and the Senate.