Democrats' Voting Rights Bill: "It's A Sweeping Takeover Of Our Democracy"

January 11, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) delivered floor remarks regarding the Democrat's Voting Rights bill is a takeover of our democracy.

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



You can read the transcript below or in the Congressional Record.


Madam President, when Tennesseans go to the polls and
cast their vote, they do so with the hope that the person whose name
appears on their ballot will do what is best for their community. They
expect that person to show respect for the Constitution and the rule of
law and to protect the integrity of our most important institutions.
The people place a great deal of trust in us, and I don't think it is
too much to ask that we return the favor by recognizing that there are
limits to how far the Federal Government can expand its reach. Many of
my Democratic colleagues, however, would disagree with me on that
premise. They returned to Washington this week ready to squander the
people's trust on yet another power grab.
The election bill they are prepared to break the Senate rules to pass
has failed multiple times, under multiple titles, and in different
packaging. This has gone on for the last 20 years. But this latest
round has one thing in common with all the other drafts that found
their rightful place in the trash can: It has nothing to do with
protecting the ballot box.
This is not a voting rights bill; it is a sweeping takeover of our
democracy and a shocking attack on the constitutional authority of the
States to determine the time, place, and manner of elections. That is
right. This is not in statute; it is article I, section 4 of the
I have said it before. I will say it again. These proposals read like
something concocted by someone who has never stepped foot behind the
scenes of their local polling place. It is concocted by people who
probably have never spent 10 minutes as a poll worker carrying out and
implementing an election, and they absolutely have never served a term
on a local election commission.
It seems that our friends across the aisle are looking at all of
these local elected and appointed officials who work elections and are
saying: We think that you just are incapable and inept to carry out an
How disrespectful can you be?
The Federal Government has got to come in and save the day and take
away the ability of your local elections registrar to carry forward an
I hope my colleagues will think about the message that they are
sending because there is nothing in these proposals that would help
your State and local leaders secure elections, and, in fact, many
provisions would actually weaken the checks already in place against
voter fraud.
 This is the opposite of how it should be. It should be easy to vote
and hard to cheat, not the other way around. And the people of this
country and elected leaders have been saying no to the Federal takeover
of elections for the past 20 years. But here we are again having to
once again stand up against this desperate attempt to undermine voters
and empower cheats and criminals by mandating ballot harvesting while
rejecting voter ID requirements. That is in their bill--got to do it,
got to allow ballot harvesting. That is where shenanigans happen.
We can't have voter ID requirements--no, no, no. We don't want
anybody at the ballot box having to prove who they are. But be ready to
show that ID if you want to get on a plane, if you want to get in a
government building, if you want to go buy a bottle of wine. Be ready
to show that ID, prove your age, and prove who you are.
Their bill would also centralize power over elections in the hands of
faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats--that is right--not your friends
and neighbors working the polls and making decisions and serving on
local election commissions. You will never know the people who say,
``Hey, you are too stupid to figure out how to run these elections,''
because the Democrats are going to take all the power and authority
away from your local friends and neighbors and send it to bureaucrats
here in DC.
And they would embrace a one-size-fits-all rule book that any
seasoned election worker knows will throw polling places into chaos.
 In my home county in Tennessee, we have people who have worked these
polls for years. They are dedicated. They are good people. I don't know
their political party. I just know that they show up to make certain
that our elections are free and fair, and I appreciate them.
  Since the first iteration of this bill reared its head, the American
people have seen it for what it is: an activist-driven, power-hungry
solution in search of problems that do not exist. That is right; the
problems don't exist.
The Democrats want you to believe that America as we know it will end
if they don't pass this bill. They are acting like elections are in
crisis. But do you know what? I think maybe it is the Democratic Party
that is in crisis. They are staring at decades-high inflation, crime
spikes, cascading public health failures, a southern border on the
verge of collapse, embarrassing approval ratings, infighting so intense
that watching the nightly news feels like you are watching a soap
They can't get their arms around COVID. They can't figure it out. I
just heard coming over here that the CDC is now going to mandate that
insurance companies have to supply home testing kits for all of their
enrollees. I mean, yeah, I think it is a party in crisis. And do you
know what? The Democrats right now, they are desperate for a
distraction. Oh, just give them something to change the narrative. And
the benefit of this one, if they could pull this off, is that they
won't have to worry about the American people holding them accountable
for the fallout because they now will control the ballot process; they
will control the election commissions.
And do you know what they are saying to the American public? Your
vote doesn't count.
We have treasured one person, one vote. We have treasured fair, free,
honest elections. And the Democrats are ready to throw it away for a
power grab that is unprecedented and is incredibly disrespectful of the
men and women in each of our counties who give of their time and work
to hold these elections.
This is more than just another example of partisanship holding the
Senate hostage. And it is partisanship. It is ``We have to do this, take away
power from the people.''
Oh, isn't it supposed to be a government of the people, by the
people, and for the people? But, oh, I think my colleagues across the
aisle have forgotten that. They think it is government for the
powerful, government that is in control of one party and one party's
agenda. That is what they are thinking.
This attack on the integrity of our elections is a complete betrayal
of the trust that the people have given elected officials because we
have colleagues across the aisle who are basically looking at their
constituents in their various States and saying: Your opinion does not
Think about that.
You are not good enough. You are not smart enough. You can't handle
it. So, hey--Federal Government--we are going to come and save you from
yourselves. That is what they think.
 It is their constitutional prerogative to determine the time, place,
and manner of their own elections. That is what is given to the State
legislatures. It is their prerogative, and it is not the job of
Congress or the President or a battalion of unelected, faceless,
nameless, unaccountable bureaucrats to burn down the goalposts when
things at the ballot box don't go their way. But that is exactly what
the Democratic Party is trying to do this week.
  So you never will be able to complain to them. They want to hold all
the cards. The purpose of this latest power grab isn't to make the
people feel secure. Its purpose is to inject hysteria into what should
be a very serious conversation about actually protecting the vote.
  Everything the people hear from the Democrats this week will have
been scripted to minimize truth and maximize chaos. Remember, they want
you to believe that elections are in crisis.
 ``We have to fix it.''
But, fortunately, Tennesseans and the American people know better
than to believe what they are hearing on the nightly news and to
believe what is coming from the Democratic Party. They also know there
is only one reason a political party would work this hard to make
elections easier for them to manipulate.