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Democrats Take Advantage of National Emergency to Federalize Elections

WASHINGTON – Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) issued the following statement after Speaker Pelosi released House Democrats’ third coronavirus response proposal. The bill provides $4 billion to the Election Assistance Commission, over a billion dollars more than what left-leaning election organizations, the Brennan Center and the ACLU estimated necessary for states to respond during this pandemic.

The Democrats’ partisan bill also proposes several federal mandates for states to adopt within the 7 months leading up to the presidential election, like allowing high school students to be poll watchers, requiring polling locations be within walking distance of public transportation, forcing no-excuse absentee voting without allowing states to require identification as a condition of obtaining the ballot, allowing ballots to be cast in any location – disregarding the importance of local elections, and nationalizing the controversial practice of ballot harvesting. 

“It’s despicable that while Americans are struggling, Democrats have chosen to not only block much needed assistance for the American People in the Senate, but then introduced legislation that is nothing but a dangerous ploy to federalize elections. States are already working around the clock to keep their elections functioning during this national emergency. The last thing they need is for the federal government to impose unnecessary and time consuming mandates,” said Ranking Member Davis. “The programs Democrats are forcing States to adopt, like early voting and no excuse absentee ballots, have been known to take some States over 5 years to successfully implement. There’s no way States would be able to follow these outrageous demands before the 2020 elections.” 

“On top of these programs, the Democrats are trying to sneak in a nationalized ballot harvesting regime, meaning that political operatives in every State would now be able to come to a voter’s house to pick up their ballot and deliver it to the polling location. The expansion and collection of absentee ballots invites the abuse of ballot harvesting, as we saw in North Carolina’s 9th District during the last election. Ballot harvesting, in and of itself, is not a safe social distancing practice. I fully support states who are working to expand absentee voting during this national emergency, but we should be putting safeguards into place to protect against the practice of ballot harvesting, not in support of it. States should be able to choose the administrative practices that make the most sense for their election systems during this pandemic. A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t the answer.”

“I’m disappointed in my colleagues across the aisle for pushing this nonstarter of a bill containing over 60 pages of federal directives, including numerous provisions unrelated to COVID-19, instead of working with Republicans to help Americans now. This bill is a joke, and Americans aren’t laughing.” 

Top 5 Most Egregious Provisions: 

  1. Ballot Harvesting – House Democrats are nationalizing ballot harvesting, a process where a political operative may come to a voter’s home, collect their absentee ballot, and deliver it to a polling location.
    • We saw this process misused in the last election in North Carolina’s 9th District when a political operative illegally harvested ballots and did not properly deliver them.
    • Ballot harvesting lacks a proper chain of custody protection.
    • There is no limit to the number of ballots that individuals could turn in.
    • This does not follow social distancing practices, and it’s unnecessary, as ballots with pre-paid postage are readily available.
       
  2. Same-day Registration – Requires states to allow individuals to register to vote on Election Day.
    • Same-day registration has been shown to create an administrative hurdle for elections officials and often results in longer lines at the polls.
    • Election officials have little to no time on Election Day to verify the information the voter is giving is correct.
       
  3. Private Rights of Action – Further burdens states with potential future lawsuits.
    • If a state is unable to comply with the stringent requirements of this bill by Election Day 2020, liberal groups would be empowered to sue the state.
    • Given the unrealistic timeline of the implementation of these mandates, it is likely many states would be at risk of costly litigation.
       
  4. Polling Locations – Prescribes unrealistic, uniformed polling location requirements on States.
    • Mandates that states place polling locations in areas within walking distance of public transportation.
    • Implies that states’ current polling locations are in discriminatory areas by creating a vague standard for states to move their polling locations to “nondiscriminatory” areas.  
    • The federal government does not know the state’s best polling locations better than the state.
       
  5. Provisional Ballots – Any provisional ballots must be counted no matter where cast within the State.
    • It creates chaos for local election officials to manage and maintain local elections, as different municipalities have differing ballots – even in adjacent precincts for local elections like school boards and county commissioners.
    • Disenfranchising voters from participating in their local elections and prioritizing only federal or state elections. 

Read the full bill text by clicking here
 

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