Today’s hearing topic is one that many Americans are unfamiliar with, mostly because it’s a complicated legal theory that’s really hard to define.
You see, if you ask Democrats what “Independent State Legislature Theory” means you’ll get one answer. If you ask Republicans, you’ll get something different.
This theory focuses on the Constitution’s use of the word “Legislature” and what it means, specifically how much authority is given to a state’s legislature to determine election law.
So, as a committee, we should be using this as an opportunity to gather the facts, not make any accusations or insinuations.
I say that because I know that some on the Left, including sanctioned Democrat lawyer Marc Elias, are already setting the stage ahead of 2024, suggesting this theory is all a grand plan by Republicans to steal the election – which is not only ludicrous but completely untrue and unfounded.
In fact, we’re even seeing some on the Left use this theory as a “doomsday” type scenario to fundraise on, and an excuse to cover their favorite topic: President Trump and the 2020 presidential election – all in an effort to support the January 6 Committee’s “investigation.”
But no matter how the Left tries to spin it, Republicans believe that the Constitution is clear.
Article 1, Section 4 states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.”
Further, the Presidential Electors Clause states: “Each State appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.”
So, this shouldn’t be controversial. Republicans and Democrats should both agree that states have the primary authority to establish election law and administer federal elections, and that Congress plays a secondary role.
This is why yesterday, I introduced the American Confidence in Elections Act—the ACE Act—a comprehensive bill focusing on the importance of strong election integrity reforms that meet the moment by bolstering voter confidence in our elections while respecting the Constitution, federalism, and conservative principles.
The ACE Act ensures states maintain primary authority over elections while providing them with tools they can quickly implement to restore voter confidence and election integrity, and it also removes outdated federal policies standing in their way.
The Constitution divides authority between Congress and the States. That’s why the bill is coupled with model state legislation for state legislatures to consider as we work to improve election integrity—the same election legislation we’ll implement in the District of Columbia to ensure that, after years of election crises in the District, residents can trust that their votes will be counted fairly and accurately.
Our driving principle is that every eligible American should have the opportunity to vote, and that their ballot should be counted according to law.
Unlike partisan H.R. 1 that was crafted behind closed doors, my bill has been drafted publicly over the course of two years and is the product of feedback and ideas from a large and diverse set of members of Congress, stakeholders, Secretaries of State, State Legislators, and local election administrators across 18 states and territories – both Republican and Democrat.
In fact, we’ve been working on this bill since before the last presidential election.
I invite any of my colleagues across the aisle to join me in supporting this bill that empowers states to run free, fair, and secure elections—elections that promote voters’ confidence and drive strong turnout.
House Administration Republicans will continue to champion policies that respect the primary role of states over elections and ensure that it gets Congress out of the way.
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