Don’t Be Fooled: H.R. 4 Is Just Another Power Grab

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is seen during a news conference with Rev. Dr. William Barber and members of the Poor People's Campaign on voting rights and infrastructure, outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, August 25, 2021.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

In June, Democrats failed to sell the federal takeover of state elections known as H.R. 1/S. 1 to the American people. The bill was a laundry list of left-wing fantasies, including using taxpayer dollars to fund political candidates, undermine widely supported voter ID requirements, and totally destroy the authority of states to run their own elections. Americans saw the bill for what it was — a Democrat power grab — and it failed. Now, Democrats are coming back to the table with new legislation called H.R. 4. They’re dishonestly calling it a compromise. Don’t fall for their partisan lies: H.R. 4 has the same rotten core as H.R. 1 and would make our elections far less secure.

H.R. 4’s goal is to eviscerate the right of states to manage their own elections with appropriate transparency and ballot-security safeguards. It will attempt to misuse the 1965 Voting Rights Act to achieve this goal. “Preclearance” is central to H.R. 4 — this plank of the law would require every state election official to submit any election law changes to the Department of Justice for approval. In short, Democrats want states to ask Washington, D.C., for permission to pass local laws that would, for example, require voter ID — a policy that polls consistently find roughly 80% of Americans in support. Joe Biden and Democrats want their politicized Department of Justice to control how states manage their own elections. This is the same Department of Justice that recently sued the State of Georgia over its new election integrity laws. The RNC intervened to protect Georgia in that lawsuit, and we expect another win there for Republicans on the heels of our recent victory in Brnovich v. DNC, which banned ballot trafficking in Arizona. This Department of Justice is currently trying to strong-arm states into making their elections less secure and transparent, and Joe Biden wants to expand its mandate to control every aspect of state-level elections.

That is big-government totalitarianism at its very worst. It bears mentioning that the Supreme Court found old preclearance formulas to be unconstitutional in the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder case. Preclearance’s subjugation of state law to Washington overreach undermines the rights of states to develop and apply best voting practices informed by local knowledge. Democrats are trying to revive an outdated, unconstitutional provision from the 1960s in their stop-at-nothing efforts to undermine election integrity.

H.R. 4 contains other provisions that should concern every American who wants elections to be free, fair, and transparent. The bill takes aim at efforts to clean up voter rolls, attempting to handcuff local officials who attempt to keep their voter lists up-to-date and accurate. For example, the bill would prohibit states from participating in an inter-state accountability process to ensure accurate lists. The bill would also force federal courts to take inaccurate census data and subject every existing strict voter ID requirement to Department of Justice review.

This is not what the American people want. Polling shows that Americans — including a majority of Democrats and minority voters — support voter ID. Polling also shows that 68% of voters believe that state legislatures should decide the voting rules and regulations for their state, not the federal government. That number alone should invalidate Democrat attempts to strip all local authority from state-level election officials.

Democrats are upset that states like Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and Iowa have taken the initiative and passed strong election integrity laws. They can’t bear the thought that states might act without input from D.C. bureaucrats. That concept is antithetical to their power-grab mentality, and so they want to suppress state-run elections.

Democrats failed to pass H.R. 1, and H.R. 4 will meet a similar fate. H.R. 4 is totally out of line with public opinion and an extreme power grab that Americans will reject. As Democrat lies and schemes continue to fail, Republicans will continue to ensure the security and transparency of our elections.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Kyle Hupfer is RNC general counsel and Indiana GOP chairman.

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