- - Monday, March 29, 2021

“This bill is the single most dangerous bill this committee has ever considered,” thundered Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz at Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.

He was referring to S. 1, the Senate version of Democratic-sponsored legislation that would overturn state law, federalize elections, outlaw voter ID, mandate automatic and same-day voter registration, institute taxpayer financing of federal elections, and virtually ensure Democratic Party control of our politics for the next century. 

Mr. Cruz is right — this bill is extraordinarily dangerous, on a number of fronts. 

First, it spends taxpayer dollars to fund politicians’ campaigns, with a six-to-one match on contributions up to $200, so a $200 contribution becomes a $1,400 contribution. Oh, it has a fancy-schmancy dedicated financing stream based on surcharges on fees paid by corporate wrongdoers so that its sponsors can say, “There is no taxpayer funding!” but we all know money is fungible. If it weren’t for the need to fund political campaigns, the money from this dedicated stream would go to fund other taxpayer obligations, so let’s just drop the pretense, shall we?

Say it with me — if this bill were to become law, taxpayers would be financing politicians’ campaigns. 

That means we as taxpayers would lose control over what political speech we support, and what political speech we oppose. Under our system as it currently stands, I can choose to support some political speech I like by making a contribution to the candidate or organization doing the speaking, and I can choose not to support speech I oppose by choosing not to make a similar contribution. If this law were to be enacted, and taxpayer funds were used to fund the political campaigns even of politicians whose politics I oppose, I would, of necessity, lose the decision-making power over which speech I support with my money.  

That’s a violation of my First Amendment rights to freedom of association, because that right of freedom to associate with whomever I please includes a right not to associate with those I don’t like. That’s wrong. 

Second, the bill strikes down state laws all over the country and imposes a ballot “harvesting” regime, where paid political operatives can engage in unrestricted vote trafficking. Mr. Cruz was particularly effective exposing this provision of the bill at Wednesday’s hearing: 

“It mandates party operatives being able to go into nursing homes,” he said, “collect every ballot there, throw out the ballots they don’t like, because there’s no supervision over the ballot harvesting. … The Carter-Baker Commission, chaired by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, said ballot harvesting was a major source of voter fraud, what do Senate Democrats do? Look at the Carter-Baker Commission, say ‘Where do we get fraud? Let’s do more of that!’ ” 

Third, it strikes down basic voter protections like the photo identification requirements currently in place in 29 states.  

Fourth, it mandates automatic voter registration of all persons whose personal information is to be found in certain government databases — driver’s licenses, welfare payments, food stamp benefits, unemployment checks and the like. But not everyone on those databases is necessarily a U.S. citizen, so it’s quite possible (read: very likely) that noncitizens (read: illegal immigrants) could be registered to vote. 

Fifth, it overturns state laws prohibiting voting by felons. As Mr. Cruz put it, “This bill is designed to get criminals to vote. A great many states across this country prohibit felons from voting. This bill strikes down all those laws. This bill says if you’re a murderer, if you’re a rapist, if you’re a child molester, we, the Democrats, want you voting.” 

These are just a few of the outrageous provisions to be found in this legislation. The bill further opens the door to voter fraud by mandating same-day and even Election Day registration; prohibits states from rejecting any voter application; prohibits challenges to voter eligibility; federalizes and greatly expands the use of mail-in ballots; removes accountability during redistricting; and turns the Federal Election Commission from a bipartisan election watchdog into a partisan attack machine. 

Perhaps Mr. Cruz’s closing Wednesday said it best: “This bill has rightly been called the Corrupt Politicians Act, because it is designed to keep corrupt politicians in office, and everyone supporting it should be ashamed.” 

• Jenny Beth Martin is the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.

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