Written by Marsha Blackburn
Washington, D.C. – If you liked the chaos of the pandemic election, you’re going to love the left’s new effort to complicate voting in America. Despite its innocuous name, the For the People Act, known in the Senate as “S.1,” is a harbinger of anything but productive election reform.
It is a federal takeover of the electoral process. Rather than addressing Americans’ genuine concerns about never-ending vote counts, electioneering, and voter fraud, S.1 would upend the traditional voting system and turn every Election Day into election month, opening the door to uncertainty, taxpayer-funded campaigns, and speech restrictions.
S.1 imposes a laundry list of unattainable requirements on local governments and holds officials legally liable for any compliance issues.
In addition to forcing all states to adopt same-day voter registration, a policy that gives state officials no time to verify the accuracy of voter information, the bill also forces local governments to automatically register people who appear on other state databases like driver’s license lists.
According to Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky, these mandates “will not only lead to multiple registrations of individuals in the same and multiple states, but the registration of aliens and other ineligible individuals.”
In addition to the mandated registrations that will make fraud easier, S.1 also restricts the actions states and your local county election commission can take to verify and maintain the accuracy of their existing voter rolls. “Senators who support S.1 should realize that they are essentially in favor of throwing the validity and credibility of future elections in doubt,” von Spakovsky continued.
Beyond registration practices, the bill would also force states to purchase new paper-backed voting machines. While updated machines would certainly help election officials ensure ballot integrity on a precinct level, the ones required by S.1 haven’t even been invented yet.
There’s no denying that, following the 2020 election, changes to improve voter integrity are needed. But instead of proposing solutions, the For the People Act actively prevents them. For instance, popular voter I.D. laws that require voters to verify their identity before casting their ballot would be replaced by mandates preventing states from asking for any signature, I.D., or other verification.
Worse, the For the People Act not only violates the First Amendment by forcing taxpayers to fund political speech and federal campaigns but it also puts Cancel Culture on steroids by forcing non-profit organizations to publicly disclose the names of their donors.
In Tennessee, we’ve made headway on a local and state level to reform our elections, cleaning voter rolls, requiring identification to vote, and working to restore accountability. Despite this progress, Democrats are willing to crush local governments to push through their own impractical agenda, which will undermine trust in the electoral process.
Even as the For the People Act continues its march through Congress, I will advocate for workable statewide solutions to improve election integrity.