Democrats Seeking Power Over Our Nation’s Elections Through the Democrat Politician Protection Act
‘There is no objective basis for the sweeping federal takeover of elections that House Democrats have dreamed up. No emergency. It’s just a Washington D.C. power grab for its very own sake. Decision after decision that our Constitution properly leaves to the states just melts away in this proposal. Practically every variable of any consequence to American elections gets a top-down mandate, written by Democrats.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding House Democrats’ proposal to centralize electoral control in Washington, D.C. and to erode free speech:
“Earlier this week I began discussing H.R. 1, House Democrats’ marquee bill for the new Congress. I’ve stated this week that it really adds up to one big, expensive partisan power grab. An effort to centralize more control over Americans’ speech and Americans’ voting here in Washington D.C. The ‘Democrat Politician Protection Act. I’m pleased that people are beginning to pay attention to this monstrosity.
“Today, I want to focus on how the power grab would affect our elections. Because when Washington politicians suddenly decide their top priority is grabbing unprecedented control over how they get elected and sent to Washington in the first place, alarm bells should start ringing all over the place. After all, Article I, Section IV of the Constitution clearly gives state legislatures primary responsibility for -- quote -- the ‘times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives.’
“Now, there are times in American history when it has come to that. There have been times when our nation has needed the federal government to get involved to expand and protect the franchise or to respond to a national emergency. Bills like the Voting Rights Act which secured the franchise for African Americans or the Help America Vote Act which provided guideposts to prevent a crisis like the Bush v. Gore recount from occurring a second time.
“So – what is the alleged crisis now, in 2019, that has House Democrats calling for an unprecedented federal takeover of elections across the nation? Why is this Democrat bill — which would create more federal government mandates over the minutiae of the electoral process than has ever done in this area in the past--necessary now? 2016 saw the most ballots ever cast in a presidential election in American history. Now, with population growth, that isn’t entirely surprising -- but the turnout rate was the 3rd-highest since 1968. The 2018 midterms? The highest midterm turnout in fifty years. And listen to what Americans themselves had to say about their experience. After the election, 92 percent of surveyed voters told the Pew Research Center their voting experience was ‘very easy’ or ‘somewhat easy.’
“Regardless of when they voted and how they voted, huge majorities communicated they had no real trouble casting their ballots. So my Democratic friends seem to be implying there is a supposed crisis that conveniently is not rooted in the facts or in the opinions of American voters. There is no objective basis for the sweeping federal takeover of elections that House Democrats have dreamed up. No emergency. It’s just a Washington D.C. power grab for its very own sake.
“Decision after decision that our Constitution properly leaves to the states just melts away in this proposal. Practically every variable of any consequence to American elections gets a top-down mandate, written by Democrats. Could states require a signature to vote under the Democrats’ bill? Only if they accept a ‘computerized mark,’ making that signature requirement about as serious as clicking one checkbox on a website. What if states and localities want to make sure that ineligible voters under the age of 18 don’t end up on the voter rolls? Or decide whether or how convicted felons have their voting rights restored? Under the Democrat Politician Protection Act, states have no choice in the matter.
“How many days of early voting should there be? Do polls need to be open on Sundays? What’s the best way to make absentee ballots available? When can early voting take place, and for how long? And where should those polling places be located? Different states and communities have come to different, legitimate judgments on all these questions. It’s a core part of our constitutional system. And the decentralization of our electoral process leads to a more democratic system — with more direct impact on the elections of those decisionmakers.
“The United States of America has never been about centralizing all power in Washington D.C. And Washington should not get to micromanage the processes that determine who comes to Washington. But House Democrats don’t seem to care if their partisan power grab upsets this constitutional balance. These Representatives even -- get this -- want the federal government to dictate to states how their very own congressional districts’ lines will be drawn. Right now, we have a competition of ideas among the states about the best ways to handle this. Different places arrive at different answers.
“Naturally, House Democrats have a different idea. They want to force every state to use a commission that is designed by them, whose structure and procedures are prescribed by them, and if a state doesn’t bow to their will, then the D.C. federal court will make the decisions that have been reserved for the state legislatures since our nation’s founding. I know it is not fashionable on the far left to praise the wisdom of our constitutional structure. I’m sure that in some corners, I’ll be derided for referencing the Constitution at all. After all, how could it still be relevant?
“But of course, this thinking shows exactly why our founding principles are so important. The Constitution is there to protect our liberties and protect our form of government from the whims of whoever happens to currently be in power. These guardrails exist to stop things like a narrow partisan majority in the House of Representatives grabbing control of election laws just to benefit themselves politically. We need to stand with Alexander Hamilton and our Constitution -- not with House Democrats’ partisan power grab.”
Related Issues: First Amendment