- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 17, 2021

After the 2020 presidential election, election integrity is the No. 1 concern among Republicans. According to a Morning Consult poll taken in January, only 32% of GOP voters say the election was free and fair.

Democrats used coronavirus as an excuse to water down voting standards — 37 states changed their mail-in voting procedures, many bypassing their legislatures in order to do so, sowing confusion and discord at the state level. 

In Michigan, a judge ruled last week it was illegal for Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to issue a ruling that presumed a signature on an absentee ballot envelope or ballot application was valid, because it didn’t go through a formal rule-making process that involves the legislature. More than 3 million absentee ballots were cast in the November election, less than 0.5% were rejected. In 2016, the national average ranged from 1% to 2% rejection rates.

In Georgia, a judge this week indicated he may unseal absentee ballots in Fulton County, so fraud allegations can be investigated. The lawsuit alleges county workers may have fabricated absentee ballots and counted others multiple times.  

Republicans at the state level have introduced more than 250 voter integrity bills — in an effort to shore up confidence in our electoral system, and not allow what were meant to be temporary coronavirus emergency measures become permanent. There’s a good chance many of these GOP bills will pass. Republicans control state legislatures in all of the six closest states in the most recent presidential election. 

And Democrats know this — that’s why there’s so much internal pressure to pass H.R. 1 — a disastrous federal “voter rights” bill, which would make this country’s elections more disorganized, more unsupervised and more untrustworthy. 

H.R. 1 gives the federal government power to supersede state election laws. It would eliminate 35 state laws that require voter identification. It would allow political operatives and campaign officials to collect (aka “harvest”) absentee ballots. It would install ballot drop boxes in every state with no supervision. 

There would be no signature-match standards on absentee ballots, allowing for potential forgeries. It would allow same-day registration and voting, giving states zero time to validate voters. And if there was a problem? Don’t worry, all appeals would be sent to Washington, to be adjudicated by the traditionally Democratic-controlled D.C. Circuit.

If H.R. 1 passes we will never, as a nation, have election results determined on election night. Republicans will never have confidence in our voting system — heck, they may never win a national race again.

Democrats need to eliminate the Senate filibuster for H.R. 1 to have any chance at passing — and they’re actually considering it.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durban threw his support behind the measure, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has scheduled a hearing on it next week.

Ron Klain, President Biden’s chief of staff (or shall we say puppet master), was asked by MSNBC this week if he would rather have H.R. 1 or the filibuster — and he said he supported H.R. 1. Interviewed a few days later on ABC and Mr. Biden endorsed a filibuster rule change — flip-flopping from his position on the campaign trail where he said he would be hesitant to alter Senate procedure.

Democrats are seizing on the moment — they are being pushed by their most progressive wing to alter the rules of the Senate and pass the sweeping H.R. 1, which would all but ensure their success in future elections and destroy the foundation of this country. 

Republicans need to mobilize and educate themselves on H.R. 1 — it sounds great in passing — but the devil is in the details. State legislatures — not bureaucrats in Washington — need to be in control of our federal elections. H.R. 1 is a naked power play by Democrats to override needed election reforms happening at the state level by Republicans, period. As Republican Sen. Ted Cruz so aptly put it: H.R. 1 is a “fraud law” that will allow Democrats to “manipulate and steal” future elections.

• Kelly Sadler is commentary editor at The Washington Times.

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