House Democrats' top priority is a government power grab

Augusta Chronicle
Rep. Rick W. Allen

Voting is a sacred right and the most important tool in which we shape our republic, yet too many Americans have lost faith in the integrity of our elections. It’s incumbent on leaders at all levels to work together to implement safeguards to strengthen and restore faith in the process, and I continue to urge state legislatures – bodies with the authority over administering elections – to take urgent action to enact meaningful reform.

But House Democrats have made their No. 1 legislative priority for the 117th Congress a federal takeover of our elections and a blatant power grab. The Constitution clearly states that each individual state has the jurisdiction to enact their own voting laws, yet H.R. 1 would take away all state sovereignty over elections and place it in the hands of Washington lawmakers and unelected federal bureaucrats.

The legislation is riddled with troubling provisions. It creates mandatory, automatic voter registration using names in state and federal databases that would be required to transfer names to a states’ voting system — like Social Security and those who receive food stamps.

Under H.R. 1, states would not be held accountable to update their voter rolls, which severely limits states’ authority to implement safeguards to remove those who are no longer voters. Many states have outdated voter rolls that must be refreshed – and when they are not updated, this leads to those who may be deceased or have moved receiving ballots or being eligible to vote. It would also expand mail-in voting by mandating that states provide no-excuse absentee ballots, while outlawing voter verification – both issues that led to serious concerns regarding irregularities during the past election.

Georgia law currently requires identification to vote in person, and the state legislature is considering legislation requiring identification to vote absentee. However, H.R.1 would supersede state laws like Georgia’s and would not allow for any verification of identity.

How can we ensure that the sanctity of someone’s vote is protected and that voter fraud would not occur without these safeguards in place – not to mention ensuring that only Americans vote?

Further, the bill strips state legislatures of their role in drawing congressional districts and grants unelected federal judges the authority to overturn election results through baseless lawsuits.

Also included in this bill are alarming campaign-finance provisions that would infringe upon the free speech rights of Americans while also forcing taxpayers to subsidize anonymous donations, even if they do not support a certain candidate. The federal government would be required to match small contributions of $200 and under at a 6-to-1 ratio, meaning for every $200 that is donated by a citizen, the federal government will match $1,200. The federal government has no business meddling in election donations, not to mention that our national debt is exceeding $27 trillion and continues to go unaddressed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership want to implement California-style elections throughout the nation. But I have a newsflash for you, Madame Speaker: Georgia is not California!

House Republicans are championing H.R. 322, the Save Democracy Act, that I’m proud to co-introduce. This bill would actually bring transparency and restore election integrity in our federal elections through targeted reform to three major areas: registering voters, casting ballots and tabulating ballots.

Among a host of other initiatives to ensure full transparency in our election process, this bill would prohibit the automatic registration of voters, prohibit states from sending unrequested absentee ballots, require identification for an absentee ballot, require at least two representatives from each presidential campaign to be allowed to observe polls and vote-counting operations in a general election, and ensure vote counting be continued without pause or delay once started.

I’m eager to work with my colleagues on reasonable legislation to restore election integrity, but H.R. 1 is a shameless attempt to keep one party in power. This is exactly what our Founding Fathers feared.

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