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  • Peter Osborne

RMSP Members: H.R. 1 isn't For the People; it's For the Politicians

Republicans voted unanimously on March 4 against the For the People Act of 2021, the sweeping voter rights legislation known as H.R. 1, which was also opposed by 16 Secretaries of State, nine former Federal Elections Commission commissioners, the National Disability Rights Network, the Institute of Free Speech, and more than 130 other non-profit organizations.

The bill, which passed the House by a 220-210 margin, thanks to unanimity from Democrats is now being considered by the U.S. Senate. As currently written, H.R. 1:

  • Creates a 6:1 funding match to any small-donor contributions of $200 or less in a congressional or presidential campaign.

  • Nationalizes elections and centralizes their administration in Washington, D.C.

  • Makes “pandemic-style” election changes permanent.

  • Forces states to permanently expand mail-in voting, legalize ballot harvesting, and disregard voter ID laws.

  • Disregards state voter identification laws and provisional ballot rules by forcing states to allow sworn statements to be used in place of identification and allowing for signature verification, which can be submitted through a photo if the voter registers online.

RMSP Members actively opposed the bill, both before the vote and shortly after. Many referred to it as the “For the Politicians” Act, rather than by the “For the People” name that Democrats gave it. Here are some selected comments from RMSP members during the debate and after the vote.

  • Don Bacon (NE-02): Since 1788, the United States has been conducting free and fair elections, and I made an oath to uphold the Constitution, which includes protecting the rights and voices of all Americans, no matter the party. H.R. 1 is an attempt by Speaker Pelosi and the Far Left to federalize our election system in defiance of the Constitution; reverse the longstanding history of state-controlled elections; force American taxpayers to fund campaigns of political candidates they do not support; and mandate ballot harvesting which is now illegal in Nebraska. Nebraska does elections right and does not want to be runover by the Federal government. Protecting state rights is a priority of mine, and this legislation is the “Californication” of our election laws. We do not need more unnecessary, expensive, and federal mandates that endanger the integrity of our elections.”

  • Troy Balderson (OH-12): Do you know what’s in HR 1? This bill would authorize public funding of political campaigns to pay for things like attack ads, social-media ads, and political phone calls. Ohioans do NOT support this abuse of government funds. I cannot support this.

  • Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25): In 1997, the City of Miami had a mayoral election thrown out due to absentee ballot and ballot harvesting fraud. Since then, Florida took steps to fix its election system and prevent this fraud from happening again. Now, Florida’s elections are among the most secure, fair, and trusted in the country. H.R.1 seeks to overturn these changes and make all the practices that Florida once deemed illegal standard procedures for our nation to follow. Additionally, this bill takes all of the worst procedural election changes from 2020, which were purportedly temporary due to the COVID-19 emergency and makes them permanent. If signed into law, H.R.1 would legalize ballot harvesting and disregard voter ID laws. It would also mandate that taxpayer dollars be spent on funding political campaigns. The money of hardworking Americans should not be used by politicians to support their campaigns. A thriving democracy depends on much more than just elections -- it requires trust, transparency, and fairness in our election process. Instead of trying to pass a bill that would expand opportunities for corruption and fraud while further diminishing trust in the integrity of the election process, we should focus on working to rebuild and strengthen that trust -- using Florida as an example.

  • Randy Feenstra (IA-04): H.R. 1 is an effort by Democrats to take election law away from states and put it into the hands of the federal government. Democrats want Washington to have more power so they can single-handedly decide elections and overrule the will of the people. Democrats also want to fund their campaigns with taxpayer money -- your money. And they want to undermine election integrity by legalizing ballot harvesting, expanding mail-in voting without safeguards, and removing voter ID laws. In Iowa, we know how to make our elections safe and secure. I worked hard in the Iowa Senate to pass voter ID, which is critical to any fair election process. Democrats’ attempt to nationalize our elections will undermine the integrity of our electoral process and severely infringe on states’ rights, and that’s why [I was] a strong ‘no’ vote on H.R. 1.

  • Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01): Our nation is demanding that we unite to restore, not further erode, faith and trust in our elections and institutions.

  • Mike Gallagher (WI-08): Instead of revitalizing democracy, H.R. 1 takes a number of egregious steps that expand federal power over elections and make the swamp even swampier. Legalizing ballot harvesting and using taxpayer dollars to fund political campaigns won’t restore integrity in our system. Instead, it will blatantly violate states' constitutional authority to run their own elections and open a Pandora’s Box that will only continue to fuel confusion and distrust in our election system.

  • Chris Jacobs (NY-24): H.R. 1 would allow public funds to be used to finance politicians’ re-election campaigns. There are far better and more urgent needs for public funds - Democrats are again putting their interests above the needs of the American people.

  • David Joyce (OH-14): We should address the American people’s concerns about elections, campaign finance and voter registration in a constitutional, bipartisan way that preserves the sanctity of the ballot box while also increasing access to it. Instead, the majority chose to singlehandedly craft an 800-page, one-size-fits all mandate that would publicly fund campaigns, weaponize the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission, limit the First Amendment, and take election decisions away from state and local officials and put it in the hands of the federal government. Ohio’s elections should be run by Ohioans, not by whoever happens to be in charge in Washington. I stand ready to work across the aisle to enact common-sense election reform that empowers state and local officials in making America’s elections more accessible, more secure, and more accurate.

  • Young Kim (CA-39): We must promote free, fair and secure elections so as many eligible citizens as possible can vote and have their voices heard. H.R. 1 fails at doing this and constitutes a massive overreach by the federal government. This partisan bill nationalizes our elections, codifies misguided policies like ballot harvesting, allows public money to fund political campaigns and politicizes the IRS and agencies overseeing federal elections. The last thing we should be doing is further politicizing non-partisan institutions, undermining local election officials' legitimate authority and expanding the worst of California’s election laws nationwide. I’m committed to working in a bipartisan way to protect Americans’ First Amendment rights and empower our state and local entities with the tools to ensure fair and secure elections.

  • David McKinley (WV-01): Democrats are pushing a partisan bill that uses taxpayer dollars to fund political campaigns, legalizes voting for convicted felons, and weakens the security of our elections by making it harder to protect against voter fraud.

  • Peter Meijer (MI-03): This bill was an attempt to federalize our elections and overpower states’ constitutional prerogative to set electoral processes. I support federal initiatives to *encourage* states to adopt electoral reforms...but sweeping *mandates* like those included in this bill will only serve to undermine our ability to arrive at the most free and fair elections possible.

  • Carol Miller (WV-03): H.R. 1 is a blatant, costly power grab by House Democrats that limits free speech and stifles Americans’ sacred right to free and fair elections.

  • Pete Stauber (MN-08): H.R. 1 would give more power to D.C. politicians over the states’ legislatures, allow for the public funding of campaigns, legalize voting for convicted felons, & weaken election security.

  • Bryan Steil (WI-01): H.R. 1 guts voter ID laws, legalizes ballot harvesting, and publicly funds politicians’ reelection campaigns. Not once have I had someone tell me that the problem with our system is that there is not enough money in elections. H.R. 1 weakens election integrity, and I will continue working to move our country in the opposite direction of this bill to restore confidence and strengthen our system.


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