S.1 Will Take Electoral Power From the People

April 14, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) spoke on the Senate floor to call attention to the dangers and concerns created by S.1 and how it threatens the electoral process.

To watch Senator Blackburn’s speech, click below or here.

You can read the transcript recorded in the Congressional Records below or click here.

MRS. BLACKBURN: Mr. President, it has been just over 2 months since

we transferred majority rule to President Biden and the Democrats, and

they have made it very clear that not even their most radical policy

proposals are up for debate. They just want to push things through. In

fact, based on what we have seen, I am willing to go on the record as

saying that they see any possibility of defeat as an impermissible

challenge to their hold on power, and they have got quite a long

enemies' list.

  You will recall that, back in 2016, after Donald Trump won the

election, liberal activists blamed the electoral college for their many

campaign failures.

  In 2020, even as the count came down in their favor, the attacks

continued. Faced with the possibility of constitutionalist,

conservative judicial nominees, the Supreme Court also became a source

of righteous panic. In the wake of the 2020 election, activists were

quick to demand that their new majority break the structure of the

Court and transform it into a rubberstamp for radical policies that

don't stand a chance of surviving this Chamber under regular order.

  Just this year, when faced with a much slimmer majority than, I am

sure, they expected, many of my Democratic colleagues reversed their

positions on the filibuster. Suddenly, the procedural backstop so many

of them had once vowed to protect--this was an important check against

the tyranny of the majority--was, all of a sudden, nothing more than a

racist relic of Jim Crow America. So we are left to assume, I suppose,

that tyranny started to look pretty good in the face of such a slim


  Yet the filibuster isn't the only Senate institution that came under

fire. Debate over a Federal minimum wage increase grew so unhinged that

many Democrats suggested firing the Parliamentarian and replacing her

with someone who was willing to deploy his or her own rubberstamp. Just

this week, news broke that Senate Democrats are now toying with the

idea of firing the Director of the Congressional Budget Office. For

what? For the unpardonable sin of doing his job.

  If you don't like the score, fire the scorekeeper. If you don't like

the standard, wipe it off the books. If you don't like the institution,

just burn it to the ground.

  It is a familiar curriculum now reflected in the Democrats' latest

effort to demolish and rebuild the country in their own radical image.

They call it the For the People Act, but the basic premise of S. 1 is

that, in order to secure our elections, we have no choice

but to take electoral power away from the people and put it in the

hands of politicians and bureaucrats. It is a top-down approach that,

if implemented, would centralize control over elections in direct

contravention to the Constitution, destroy barriers to voter fraud, and

enable radical activists to harass and intimidate their political

opponents. It is the sort of power grab you would expect a cartoon

villain to conduct, but here we are, debating this in the U.S. Senate.

  When you dive into the specifics, it really gets worse. Here are some

things that it would do.

  The bill would, indeed, ban voter ID requirements and force States to

allow ballot harvesting schemes.

  The Federal Election Commission, which for the moment is a balanced,

bipartisan Agency, would morph into a partisan, prosecutorial body,

ready to be weaponized against the political minority.

  Instead of living or dying by the support of loyal donors, under this

new scheme, political campaigns would receive public money payouts,

which they could then use to promote whatever message they pleased no

matter how objectionable it might be to the taxpayers, who would be

funding those campaigns.

  Speaking of those donors, if you have ever wondered who was behind a

particular campaign, this bill has you covered. It includes new

restrictions on political speech in the form of a donor disclosure

mandate. Say goodbye to anonymous political activity in the tradition

of the Federalist Papers and the civil rights movement. This is cancel

culture on steroids, and if the Democrats have their way, this is what

is coming to a precinct near you.

  Of course, the centralization of power on this scale will require a

laundry list of regulations, and on that front, S. 1 does not

disappoint. The requirements shoveled onto local and State officials

are so burdensome and impractical that I refuse to believe anyone

involved in the drafting has ever staffed a polling place. Certainly,

they have never served as volunteers on a county election commission.

That is something I had the honor of doing a couple of decades ago.

  If they get their way, the same automatic registration procedures

that failed voters in California and in Illinois are coming to a county

elections office in your neighborhood.

  Felons will regain their right to vote in Federal elections, but no

one seems willing to explain how they expect State officials to prevent

them from voting in down-ballot races.

  Elections officials will have the pleasure of purchasing new paper-

backed voting machines just as soon as those machines come into

existence. That is right. This bill mandates the use of technology that

hasn't hit the marketplace.

  Speaking of theoretical technology, for some reason, the drafters of

this bill also thought it would be a good idea to force States to

invent new technology to support automated voter registration by phone.

  Elections are not easy events to stand up. County officials and

volunteers work year-round to ensure that polling places are staffed

and safe, that machines are functional, and that volunteers are well

trained to recognize illegal electioneering and fraud. Over the years,

State and local authorities have found their own solutions to these

challenges. When those solutions fail, we have the ability to implement

Federal backstops against voter suppression and election mishandling.

  Everyone has his own role to play. These roles are outlined in the

Constitution for a reason--because the Founders knew that any detached

Federal bureaucracy would lack the competence to solve the unique

logistical challenges my Democratic colleagues are trying to use as

proof that Congress must step in to burn down yet another institution

of our democracy. That is the constitutional imperative of the States

to set the time, place, and manner of elections.

  If we continue to go down this road, this partisan fever dream will

become codified chaos that will trickle all the way down to the

precinct level and irreparably erode confidence in the electoral


  I yield the floor.