As parents, we tell our kids that their voice matters. We teach them about the importance of maintaining a free and open democracy and the inviolable promise of “one person, one vote.” But as Congressional Democrats’ latest attempt to upend the American electoral system revealed, the foundations of our republic are more vulnerable than they seem.
The name they chose for this sweeping affront to voting rights, the “For the People Act,” makes the latest conversation on voting laws seem unassuming; but the left has been peddling these dangerous policies for years. House Democrats demanded a nearly identical proposal two years ago, and Senate Democrats have spent years trying to move various provisions through Congress using procedural trickery. Each time they’ve tried to sneak it past the American people with little debate or discussion, and each time, they’ve failed.
These policies are a top-down rewrite of election laws. This time around, the legislation strips state-level prohibitions against vote trafficking, restricts voter roll clean-up, and all but outlaws widely supported voter ID laws. As Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett explained, “At best, HR1 is nothing more than a federal power grab and an attempt to rewrite the rules regarding the electoral process to benefit one party.” This isn’t just contrary to public opinion, it poses a danger to our democratic system.
This reckless attempt to rewrite election law would give quarter to fraudsters and open the door to indefinitely contested elections. Without the ability to verify a voter’s identity or remove felons, non-residents, or those who have died from voter rolls, determining legitimate votes will become a near-impossible task. The promise of a “one person, one vote” system would be functionally void. Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a Harvard Law Professor who focuses on constitutional and election law, explained that if the left’s latest rewrite becomes law, “we’re going to have a dozen major Supreme Court cases on different pieces of it.”
Election laws should be simple. They should make it easier to vote and harder to cheat, and any changes to those laws should ideally happen at a local level. Before I ever held office in the United States Congress, I served on my county election commission. I’ve seen firsthand the strides Tennessee has made to ensure greater confidence in the electoral process. The Volunteer State is not alone. Across the nation, state and local authorities already have the constitutional authority to implement solutions that fit their needs and are constantly working to meet that responsibility.
Rather than imposing their own agenda on our electoral system, Washington Democrats should focus on empowering the states they represent. Our kids and grandkids deserve to grow up in an America where their voice matters; a nation of “one person, one vote.”