- - Saturday, May 15, 2021

America is still grappling with the issues that plagued a divisive 2020 election. In that election cycle, Democratic politicians and left-wing lawyers launched a multi-state assault on election security laws that gave unprecedented and unconstitutional authority to non-legislative actors to change election laws.

Now, Democrats are doubling-down on their efforts to undermine election security with H.R. 1, the so-called “For the People Act,” a bill that would federalize state elections while sweeping away state election integrity efforts.

Rather than using the slimmest majority in modern history to enact bills that would fix problems in our election system, Democrats seem maniacally focused on making sure they maintain power in the next election. This bill shouldn’t be called the “For the People Act” but instead should be known as the “Democrat Power Grab Act of 2021” because it is clearly designed so Democrats can aggregate and exert power.

And many solutions that until recently had bipartisan support as set forth by the Carter-Baker Commission have been set aflame by the Democrats drunk with power and beholden to the radical left.

Passing H.R. 1 would codify many of the very problems America experienced in 2020 and leaves the door wide open to election fraud. Instead of bringing America together, this bill would pull us further apart as elections would become more politicized, as Democrats are using election reform efforts to try and secure lasting power.

Proponents pretend that H.R. 1 wouldn’t impact state laws, but this bill would effectively eliminate state voter ID requirements regardless of what misleading fact-checks claim. Once a fraudulent vote is cast, it becomes nearly impossible to reverse. Effectively sabotaging voter ID laws would only serve to erode public confidence in our election process.

Voters think weakening voter ID safeguards would be a huge mistake. Recent polling by the Honest Elections Project shows 77% percent of voters, including 62% of Biden voters, support voter ID requirements. A full 64% of African American voters and 78% of Hispanic voters support voter ID laws, and states like Georgia provide free IDs to those who need them. Yet, Democrats continue to make empty claims that these laws somehow disenfranchise voters.

Opposition to voter ID has nothing to do with disenfranchisement and everything to do with political warfare. Democratic lawmakers are trying to use H.R. 1 as a political sledgehammer.

Eliminating voter ID laws are just the tip of the iceberg, as H.R. 1 would make it difficult for states to conduct free and fair elections. Even many Democratic state election officials have expressed the belief that much of the bill is unnecessarily burdensome and some provisions are impossible to implement. In one case, the bill would mandate the use of technology that hasn’t been fully developed and probably won’t be for several years.

If all of that wasn’t bad enough, states would be compelled to legalize ballot harvesting, which allows political operatives to collect absentee ballots. Unsurprisingly campaigns have manipulated these ballots in the past, and a congressional race in North Carolina was thrown out in 2018 because of ballot harvesting and an elected official in Missouri was indicted because of the same.

It also undermines voting rights of eligible Americans by mandating everyone be registered to vote regardless of eligibility and prevents states from maintaining the integrity of their voting rolls to prevent illegal immigrants, felons and dead people from voting.

Further, states would also be forced by federal law to allow felons to vote after they are released from jail, even though the 14th Amendment of the Constitution gives this power to states.

Officials would also be required to count ballots arriving more than a week after Election Day. Turmoil would become the norm, with elections frequently resembling the New York congressional contest that took over 90 days to decide due to the state’s cumbersome ballot-counting process.

The Democrat Power Grab Act of 2021 would also funnel money to Democratic politicians through a campaign welfare provision. The bill provides a 6-to-1 subsidy, paid for with taxpayer dollars, for small-dollar donations. For example, if you gave $100 to an eligible candidate, the donation would become a $600 contribution. Democrats believe that this will give them a permanent financial edge on Republicans and make it easier to raise huge sums of money using taxpayer dollars.

Forcing states to adopt these one-size-fits-none rules would damage our republic by sowing doubt about the results of future elections before votes are even cast. Instead of federalizing election law, states should be able to craft laws that work for them. That is exactly what is happening in Missouri, where our state legislature is debating legislation to strengthen election integrity.

Far from empowering American voters, this power grab would make a mockery of the American election process in the name of expanding the Democratic Party’s seats. We must push back against this naked power grab and stand strong for election integrity and the future of our republic.

• Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) is Missouri’s attorney general.

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