On Thursday, Honest Elections Project released a report highlighting “H.R. 1’s Impacts on Election Safeguards and Voting Practices.” Townhall spoke to Jason Snead, the executive director of HEP, about the report and about election reform in this country.
The report’s introduction warns of “a credibility crisis,” also discussing how “Restoring public trust in elections should be top of mind for lawmakers and public officials.” On HR 1, the “For the People Act,” the report reads:
Progressive officials, meanwhile, are charging in the opposite direction. Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” and now the Senate is considering its version of the bill. The legislation constitutes an unprecedented attempt by the federal government to rewrite election laws in all 50 states. The policies contained in its 800 pages would violate the principles of federalism, weaken election security laws, force states to make sweeping changes to elections, and expose the voting process to unnecessary risks of fraud, chaos, and litigation.
The report also lays out an overview of what election laws would be impacted:
- Banning Voter ID: 36 states have adopted a voter identification requirement.3 H.R. 1 prohibits states from applying these laws
- Mandating Legal Vote Trafficking: 24 states either limit or ban operatives, campaigns, candidates, and activists from interacting with voters as they cast an absentee ballot or taking unsupervised possession of their voted ballots. H.R. 1 would remove these restrictions
- Weakening Absentee Voter Verifications: 12 states require that absentee ballots be signed by a witness, or that voters comply with an ID requirement when they vote absentee. Both practices are prohibited by the bill.
- Voter List Maintenance: H.R. 1 adds additional hurdles to state efforts to keep voter rolls accurate, hindering cleanup efforts and allowing records to become inflated with outdated registrations.
The report throughout emphasized the pressing concerns with the legislation, including how voters would “see their election systems upended.” Snead went into greater detail over our phone call, to discuss HR 1, and also to address the blatant lies being told over the recent Georgia election reform law, which have “nothing to do with the facts.”
On a hopeful note, HR 1 will not be passed so long as the filibuster is in place. Progressives have actually evoked HR 1 as to why the filibuster must be done away with. There’s been great lengths to pressure Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) to give up on the filibuster, though the two senators have doubled down on supporting the filibuster.
Snead pointed out that this says something about the legislation being considered when you can’t pass it without the filibuster.
Why are Democrats so steadfast in getting HR 1 passed? Snead emphasized that the left is “trying to creative a narrative that America’s voting system is racist and oppressive and needs reform,” which he also called an “exercise in branding and name calling.”
Snead spoke about the constitutionality concerns to do with HR 1, legislation which he called “blatantly unconstitutional” and said contains “serious constitutional infirmities.”
The constitutionality concerns are actually quite simple. It simply comes down to federalism.
Snead pointed out that for our country’s entire history, states have regulated elections. Not so with HR 1, which “would so displace states that it would nationalize elections” and “and essentially rewrites entire states election codes.” Such warnings aren’t a matter of hyperbole when it comes to all the changes states would suddenly have to make, in a matter of months. HR 1 would “create a huge logistical problem,” and also be quite costly, all for “with this one bill congress essentially saying to states you will follow our rules.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and 20 state attorney generals, led by Ted Rokita of Indiana, also say that the legislation is unconstitutional.
So if it’s so unconstitutional, then surely the courts will save the day, right? That brings another concern, though. Snead says it is a “forgone conclusion” that the legislation will be challenged, but warns of a whole separate issue. Potential cases that challenge the constitutionality must go through the DC Circuit. The cases could also be consolidated, which could also force the states to use one, court-appointed attorney. This “raises serious due process concerns,” according to Snead.
Additionally, Snead highlighted that the legislation even allows for members of Congress to intervene and join the case, which he says was “clearly designed” for individual progressive members to get involved. “It’s a game that they’re playing I think with the judicial system when it comes to challenging this legislation,” he said.
The text of HR 1 is almost 900 pages. Meanwhile, the text of Georgia’s election reform law, SB 202, whose critics have tried to use as a push for Congress passing HR 1, is 95 pages.
One of the law’s critics is President Joe Biden himself. Snead was understandably frustrated over such lies, calling it “simply unbelievable” that the president doesn’t have people who can read SB 202 to make sure he has his facts straight.
In addition to the lies that Biden told–which were awarded “four pinocchios” from the Washington Post fact-check–about limitations on early voting, critics love to lament preventing giving out water bottles to those on line to vote, which Snead calls “a distraction.”
To set the record straight, the law prevents electioneering and the concept of line-warming. Partisans cannot hand out food or drink to voters on line, which then leads to campaigning. Voters, can, however, bring their own snacks and water bottles, receive them from election officials, or patronize food trucks 151 feet away.
Anti-electioneering “creates a zone of sanctity” for voting, to be able to “do so privately,” Snead commented.
Further illuminating is how, more importantly, Georgia’s law “actually tackles the real problem” when it comes to “the existence of long lines in the first place,” Snead explained. Precincts are required to measure weight times, and, if it exceeds one hour, by the next general election there needs to be a reduction in the size of the precinct, or the use of new equipment.
The long lines occur in those areas run by Democrats, so, as Snead says, it’s “Democratic officials letting voters down.”
Liberal attorney Marc Elias brought suit against the Georgia law within hours after it was signed, though Snead believes it’s for show. “In no way shape or form in my view is it unconstitutional,” Snead said about the Georgia law.
What may be the biggest distraction is criticisms over the voter ID law. As we’ve covered, a majority support voter ID laws. This includes Democrats, minorities, Biden supporters. Georgia offers multiple forms of ID voters can use and even provides free ID to residents.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of voter ID laws in 2008, with the 6-3 decision of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. Even the liberal Justice John Paul Stevens voted in favor of the Indiana law being challenged. The decision outlined that states have a clear interest in election integrity and bolstering public interest in democracy. The courts may as well have already ruled against HR 1, then.
When so much of this is settled, let’s act like it. Instead, Democrats are abusing their power in an attempt to forever change elections.
Sens. Manchin and Sinema, stay strong in your support of the filibuster.