For as long as the United States has existed, its laws and regulations have served to create a nation that is both for and by the people. And in so being, it means that the federal government, while having a place and importance in how our country is run, is not really the governing body. We, the people, are.
However, it would seem that the Democrats of today’s Congress want to see that changed.
Naturally, as their party now holds the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, if not by a lot, as well as is in command of the White House, they are quite pleased with themselves. And the results of the 2020 elections. Or at least in part.
And so, now, the plan is to make that success a permanent thing.
Enter the passing of H. R. 1, also known as the “For the People Act of 2021.”
The bill was put forth recently and passed in the Democratic-led House of Representatives on Wednesday. And as such, it will soon move on to the Senate, where the Democrats’ majority is even thinner.
But given the letter Senate leaders just received from some 20 states and their attorneys general, it’s not looking like it will pass. And if it does, there will be consequences.
So what is H.R. 1?
At its core, it is a complete rewriting of our election process, particularly when it comes to how it is handled at the state level.
Basically, it would federalize all state elections, giving Congress power over them to make changes such as “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).”
As leader of the group of AGs against the bill, Indiana state AG Todd Rokita says, “This monstrosity of a bill betrays the Constitution, dangerously federalizes state elections, and undermines the integrity of the ballot box.”
Under Rokita’s leadership, the group explains that, currently, each individual state, per the Constitution, has the right to decide on pretty much everything about elections. This includes how, when, and where they are conducted, as well as who is allowed to vote and run for all elections, including ones for federal offices, such as congressional seats and the presidency.
Congress doesn’t really have much of a say.
Sure, they are mentioned regarding the voting process and even said to have some power there. But it’s only as a “check” to ensure that fair elections are taking place.
“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 letter goes on to cite each of those clauses more specifically, noting that the first says that “both States and Congress have the power to regulate the ‘time, place, and manner’ of congressional elections.” However, the second clause goes into detail further, distinguishing that while together the states and Congress have this power, each plays a decidedly different role.
The Electors Clause gives “Each State” the right to “appoint, in such Manner as the Legislatures thereof may direct,” and who the state’s presidential electors will be. Congress is only given the right to “determine the Time of chusing the Electors.”
As the letter states, “That distinction is not an accident of drafting. 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.”
This means that Congress has no such right to regulate state elections. They can’t force us to vote by mail, tell states what ID requirements are needed, and most certainly can’t force taxpayers to fund candidates’ campaigns.
But that’s precisely what the Democrats in Congress want to happen.
Is it just me, or have they completely forgotten the meaning of democracy and having a constitutional federal republic? Neither of those means that there is one body (or party) controlling it all – quite the opposite, in fact.
Hopefully, this letter reminds them. But if it doesn’t and the bill passes, you can bet Americans won’t take too long to make sure they remember who put them there and why. This group of AGs has already expressed their willingness to seek legal ramifications should Congress not listen to their voices.