The Democrat Politician Protection Act’s Assault On America’s State-Run Elections

Democrats’ Partisan Bill ‘Usurps States’ Authority Over Elections’ Forcing One-Size-Fits-All Dicta From Washington On Everything From Mandating Use Of Technology That Doesn’t Yet Exist To Gutting Voter ID Laws To Compelling States To Allow Ballot Harvesting To A New Unaccountable Redistricting Process

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “In this country, states and localities run elections. Those of us in the federal government do not get a stranglehold over the ways in which voters decide our fates. House Democrats want to change that. Their bill would take prudential questions about early voting, registration, and no-excuse absentee balloting and resolve them one way for the entire nation.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/25/2021)


The Democrat Politician Protection Act Is An ‘Unprecedented Proposal To Federalize Our Nation’s Elections’ That ‘Unconstitutionally And Unwisely Interferes With The Authority Of The States’

SEN. McCONNELL: “H.R. 1, House Democrats’ marquee bill for the new Congress … 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…. 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…. 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.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 1/31/2019)

House Democrats Agree That Removing Election Control From States And Giving It To Washington, D.C. Is ‘Really What This Bill [H.R.1] Is About’

SEN. McCONNELL: “Perhaps most worrisome of all is the unprecedented proposal to federalize our nation’s elections, giving Washington D.C. politicians even more control over who gets to come here in the first place. Hundreds of pages are dedicated to telling states how to run their elections, from when and where they must take place, to the procedures they have to follow, to the machines they have to use.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 1/29/2019)

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA), House Administration Committee Chair: “I would just note that I understand the gentleman’s objection to federalizing federal election eligibility, but that’s really what this bill is about.” (U.S. House of Representatives Administration Committee, Markup, 2/26/2019)

State Officials: The Bill ‘Is Bad Policy,’ ‘Would Federalize State Elections And Impose Burdensome Costs And Regulations On State And Local Officials,’ And ‘And Restricts The Choices Of Our Citizens In Conducting Elections’

Democratic state-level election director: “I can’t guarantee it’s not going to be a total clusterfuck the first election.” (Jessica Huseman, Op-Ed, “How This Voting Rights Bill Could Turn the Next Election Into a Clusterf*ck,” Daily Beast, 3/20/2021)

16 CURRENT AND FORMER SECRETARIES OF STATE: “As the chief election officials of our respective states who are responsible for administering the election process, from the registration of voters to their casting of ballots to the counting and tallying of votes, we are writing to express our deep concern over, and opposition to, HR 1. This unnecessary bill federalizes and micromanages state election systems, unconstitutionally and unwisely interferes with the authority of the states, and restricts the choices of our citizens in conducting elections. It also imposes crippling financial mandates on state governments and severely limits our ability to ensure the balance of access and security of the election process, while eliminating the verification of state qualification standards for voters.” (16 Secretaries of State, Letter to Speaker Pelosi and Rep. McCarthy, 3/06/2019)

  • 16 CURRENT AND FORMER SECRETARIES OF STATE: “HR 1 creates federal mandates for problems that currently do not exist. No provision of federal law requires states to offer registration on the day of election, to preregister minors to vote, to require weeks of early voting, mandatory online registration, or to offer automatic voter registration simply because the person is on a government list. These are extremely costly mandates that should only become the law of a state after the legislatures of those states decide to implement them. The implementation of automatic voter registration has proven to be more complicated and costly than anticipated. The changes in HR 1 would impose extraordinary expenses to our election infrastructure.” (16 Secretaries of State, Letter to Speaker Pelosi and Rep. McCarthy, 3/06/2019)

WASHINGTON STATE SECRETARY OF STATE KIM WYMAN: “As the chief election officer of a state which has implemented most of the policies proposed in HR1, I am opposed to the federal overreach of this bill.  HR 1 would enact prescriptive and specific federal regulations on election administration by mandating and essentially freezing these 2019 ideas in place for decades. It will dramatically increase the cost of conducting elections, and simply repeat history.” (U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Administration Ranking Member, Press Release, 3/06/2019)

TENNESSEE SECRETARY OF STATE TRE HARGETT: “At best, HR1 is nothing more than a federal power grab and an attempt to rewrite the rules regarding the electoral process to benefit one party. This proposed legislation is far over-reaching and infringes on states’ rights by transferring control of elections from state and local election officials to bureaucrats in Washington and taking election policy decisions out of the hands of our state leaders…. HR1 is just bad policy and I am urging our delegation to vote against it.” (U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Administration Ranking Member, Press Release, 3/06/2019)

20 STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL: “As the chief legal officers of our states, we write regarding H.R.1, the For the People Act of 2021 (the ‘Act’) and any companion Senate bill. As introduced, the Act betrays several Constitutional deficiencies and alarming mandates that, if passed, would federalize state elections and impose burdensome costs and regulations on state and local officials. Under both the Elections Clause of Article I of the Constitution and the Electors Clause of Article II, States have principal—and with presidential elections, exclusive—responsibility to safeguard the manner of holding elections. The Act would invert that constitutional structure, commandeer state resources, confuse and muddle elections procedures, and erode faith in our elections and systems of governance.” (20 Attorneys General, Letter to Reps. Pelosi and McCarthy and Sens. Schumer and McConnell, 03/03/2021)

  • “Despite recent calls for political unity, the Act takes a one-sided approach to governing and usurps states’ authority over elections. With confidence in elections at a record low, the country’s focus should be on building trust in the electoral process. Around the nation, the 2020 general elections generated mass confusion and distrust—problems that the Act would only exacerbate. Should the Act become law, we will seek legal remedies to protect the Constitution, the sovereignty of all states, our elections, and the rights of our citizens.” (20 Attorneys General, Letter to Reps. Pelosi and McCarthy and Sens. Schumer and McConnell, 03/03/2021)

Even Supporters Of The Legislation’s Goals Admit ‘It’s A Bad Bill,’ ‘Packed With Deadlines And Requirements Election Administrators Cannot Possibly Meet Without Throwing Their Systems Into Chaos’

JESSICA HUSEMAN, NYU Adjunct Journalism Professor: “While the tenets of the bill are laudable … it was written with apparently no consultation with election administrators, and it shows. While the overall message is positive, it comes packed with deadlines and requirements election administrators cannot possibly meet without throwing their systems into chaos.” (Jessica Huseman, Op-Ed, “How This Voting Rights Bill Could Turn the Next Election Into a Clusterf*ck,” Daily Beast, 3/20/2021)

JESSICA HUSEMAN: “The sections of the bill related to voting systems … show remarkably little understanding of the problems the authors apply alarmingly prescriptive solutions to. Many of the changes the bill demands of election administrators are literally impossible to implement. Others would significantly raise the cost of elections but provide no assured long-term funding.” (Jessica Huseman, Op-Ed, “How This Voting Rights Bill Could Turn the Next Election Into a Clusterf*ck,” Daily Beast, 3/20/2021)

Democrats’ Bill Requires States To Implement Technology And Systems That ‘Don’t Even Exist Yet’

“In addition, the bill requires states to purchase paper-backed voting machines that are compliant with the brand-new standards passed by the Election Assistance Commission only weeks ago…. The larger problem, however, is that the machines the bill requires don’t even exist yet. The Election Assistance Commission’s testing labs say they need eight to 12 more months to develop and finalize their new process for certifying vote systems to the new standards.” (Jessica Huseman, Op-Ed, “How This Voting Rights Bill Could Turn the Next Election Into a Clusterf*ck,” Daily Beast, 3/20/2021)

“[T]he bill asks states to implement voter registration by ‘automated telephone-based system’ —a wild, almost certainly nonsecure idea that no state currently uses and that election officials are baffled by. Currently, no voting vendor offers such a system, meaning that states would have to create this from scratch. The bill affords neither the time nor the means to implement this demand.” (Jessica Huseman, Op-Ed, “How This Voting Rights Bill Could Turn the Next Election Into a Clusterf*ck,” Daily Beast, 3/20/2021)

The Bill Forces Other States To Implement An Automatic Voter Registration System That Created A Mess In California And Illinois

JESSICA HUSEMAN: “The bill also requires that states implement automatic voter registration (AVR) by 2023 … The process requires not only updating the voter registration system, but the systems of multiple other state and even federal agencies so that the agencies’ databases talk to each other.” (Jessica Huseman, Op-Ed, “How This Voting Rights Bill Could Turn the Next Election Into a Clusterf*ck,” Daily Beast, 3/20/2021)

American Elections Are Both More Secure And More Resilient Precisely Because States And Local Governments Are Primarily In Charge Of Elections

SEN. McCONNELL: “In the United States of America it is states and localities, not the feds, who run elections. Period. And our lack of a one-size-fits-all national system isn’t just constitutionally appropriate; it also acts as a further safeguard. We lack a single point of failure.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 8/03/2020)

BIPARTISAN SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE REPORT: “DHS and other federal government entities remain respectful of the limits of federal involvement in state election systems. States should be firmly in the lead for running elections. The country’s decentralized election system can be a strength from a cybersecurity perspective, but each operator should be keenly aware of the limitations of their cybersecurity capabilities and know how to quickly and properly obtain assistance.” (Report Of The Select Committee On Intelligence, United States Senate, On Russian Active Measures Campaigns And Interference In The 2016 U.S. Election, Volume 1: Russian Efforts Against Election Infrastructure With Additional Views, 7/25/2019)

FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL BARR, FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FORMER ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY CHAD WOLF, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE JOSEPH MAGUIRE, AND FORMER CYBERSECURITY AND INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER KREBS: “The states’ autonomy over elections makes our elections more resilient. The diversity of election systems among the states, multiple checks and redundancies in those systems, and post-election auditing all make it extraordinarily difficult for foreign adversaries to disrupt or change vote tallies.” (William Barr, Christopher Wray, Chad Wolf, Joseph Maguire, and Christopher Krebs, Op-Ed, “Help Us Protect The 2020 Elections And Your Vote,” USA Today, 2/19/2020)

JESSICA HUSEMAN, NYU Adjunct Journalism Professor: “And, perversely to its purpose, [H.R.1] would make elections less secure by forcing states to rush gargantuan changes on deeply unrealistic time frames.” (Jessica Huseman, Op-Ed, “How This Voting Rights Bill Could Turn the Next Election Into a Clusterf*ck,” Daily Beast, 3/20/2021)


The Democrat Politician Protection Act ‘Would Dismantle Meaningful Voter ID Laws’ In State After State

SEN. McCONNELL: “[House Democrats] want to forbid states from implementing Voter I.D. or doing simple things like checking their voter rolls against change-of-address submissions.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/25/2021)

20 STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL: “Perhaps most egregious is the Act’s limitations on voter ID laws. Fairly considered, requiring government-issued photo identification at the polls represents nothing more than a best practice for election administration. Government-issued photo identification has been the global standard for documentary identification for decades. … Voter ID laws remain popular, with thirty-five states requiring some form of documentary personal identification at the polls. Yet the Act would dismantle meaningful voter ID laws by allowing a statement, as a substitute for prior-issued, document-backed identification, to “attest[] to the individual’s identity and . . . that the individual is eligible to vote in the election.” This does little to ensure that voters are who they say they are. Worse, it vitiates the capacity of voter ID requirements to protect against improper interference with voting rights. … Robust voter ID laws, however, require all voters to present photo identification, i.e., objective, on-the-spot confirmation of the right to vote that immediately refutes bad-faith challenges based on vaguely articulated suspicions. Fair election laws treat all voters equally. By that standard, the Act is not a fair election law.” (20 Attorneys General, Letter to Reps. Pelosi and McCarthy and Sens. Schumer and McConnell, 3/03/2021)


The Democrat Politician Protection Act Would Actually Mandate States Allow Ballot Harvesting

SEN. McCONNELL: “[House Democrats] want to force all 50 states to allow the absurd practice of ballot harvesting, where paid operatives can show up at polling places carrying a thick stack of filled-out ballots with other people’s names on them.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/25/2021)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “H.R.1 would overrule state laws against ballot harvesting, letting Americans nationwide ‘designate any person’ to return a vote, provided the carrier ‘does not receive any form of compensation based on the number of ballots.’ Also, states ‘may not put any limit on how many voted and sealed absentee ballots any designated person can return.’ Yes, paid partisan operatives could go door to door, amassing thousands of votes, as long as they billed by the hour.” (Editorial, “Making Every Election Like 2020,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/01/2021)

PAGES 199-200: “(2) PERMITTING VOTERS TO DESIGNATE OTHER PERSON TO RETURN BALLOT. —The  State— (A) shall permit a voter to designate any person to return a voted and sealed absentee ballot to the post office, a ballot drop-off location, tribally designated building, or election office so long as the person designated to return the ballot does not receive any form of compensation based on the number of ballots that the person has returned and no individual, group, or organization provides compensation on this basis; and (B) may not put any limit on how many voted and sealed absentee ballots any designated person can return to the  post office, a ballot drop off location, tribally designated building, or election office.” (H.R.1, 117th Congress)


Democrats’ Partisan Bill Would Strip Redistricting Powers From Every State And Hand It To Unelected, Unaccountable Commissions That Democrats Have Already Demonstrated Are Easy For Them To Game

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “How does it affect the House of Representatives? State legislative authority over the redistricting [process] is removed nationwide to so-called independent commissions and if people don’t like independent commissions, they can file lawsuits that could end up in the district court of Washington D.C.” (Tony Perkins’ ‘Washington Watch,’ 3/10/2021)

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): “My constituents opposed the redistricting portion of the bill as well as the section on public finances… I always listen and vote in the interest of my constituents.” (“Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson Explains Why He Was Only Dem To Vote Against Massive HR 1 Election Bill,” Fox News, 3/04/2021)

16 CURRENT AND FORMER SECRETARIES OF STATE: HR 1’s requirement that all states establish redistricting commissions unconstitutionally strips that authority away from state legislatures, and also imposes an unfunded mandate on the states. It is an antidemocratic provision that removes the ability of the residents of our states to make their own decision on how redistricting should be conducted, be it by the state legislature or by a redistricting commission. This provision may even interfere with states whose voters have already decided to establish their own redistricting commissions and whose rules do not comply with the detailed, specific requirements in HR 1 for how such commissions must be organized, operated, and staffed with commissioners unaccountable to voters.” (16 Secretaries of State, Letter to Speaker Pelosi and Rep. McCarthy, 3/06/2019)

20 STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL: “Next, the Act’s mandate that states undertake congressional redistricting by way of so-called ‘independent’ commissions is profoundly misguided. The aim of this provision—to neutralize ‘political’ gerrymandering—proceeds from the incoherent supposition that drawing congressional districts is something other than a political act. As with any legislation, drawing boundary lines for congressional districts requires officials to balance legitimate competing considerations, and in so doing advance some political interests over others. Independent commissions do not somehow negate the need for interest balancing and tradeoffs—they merely avoid accountability for the enterprise. At least when legislatures draw boundary lines voters may punish egregious behavior at the next election; not so with government-by-commission, which trades accountability for mythical expertise and disinterest. The republican form of government inherently rejects the idea that elites have some unique capacity to discern and implement the best policies. The American tradition instead embraces political accountability as the best way to advance the public interest. With respect to political redistricting, no ideal, perfectly balanced congressional boundaries exist, so we should let the people decide, through their elected officials, where to place them.” (20 Attorneys General, Letter to Reps. Pelosi and McCarthy and Sens. Schumer and McConnell, 3/03/2021)

FLASHBACK: After California Implemented A Supposedly Independent Redistricting Commission In 2010, Democrats Immediately Set To Work Rigging The Results To Their Partisan Advantage

“In previous years, the [Democratic] party had used its perennial control of California’s state Legislature to draw district maps that protected Democratic incumbents. But in 2010, California voters put redistricting in the hands of a citizens’ commission where decisions would be guided by public testimony and open debate. The question facing House Democrats as they met to contemplate the state’s new realities was delicate: How could they influence an avowedly nonpartisan process? … In the weeks that followed, party leaders came up with a plan. Working with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — a national arm of the party that provides money and support to Democratic candidates — members were told to begin ‘strategizing about potential future district lines,’ according to another email. The citizens’ commission had pledged to create districts based on testimony from the communities themselves, not from parties or statewide political players. To get around that, Democrats surreptitiously enlisted local voters, elected officials, labor unions and community groups to testify in support of configurations that coincided with the party’s interests.” (“How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission,” ProPublica, 12/21/2011)

  • “When they appeared before the commission, those groups identified themselves as ordinary Californians and did not disclose their ties to the party. One woman who purported to represent the Asian community of the San Gabriel Valley was actually a lobbyist who grew up in rural Idaho, and lives in Sacramento. In one instance, party operatives invented a local group to advocate for the Democrats’ map.” (“How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission,” ProPublica, 12/21/2011)

“California’s Democratic representatives got much of what they wanted from the 2010 redistricting cycle, especially in the northern part of the state. ‘Every member of the Northern California Democratic Caucus has a ticket back to DC,’ said one enthusiastic memo written as the process was winding down. ‘This is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated by advocates throughout the region.’ … ‘Very little of this is due to demographic shifts,’ said Professor Doug Johnson, a fellow at the Rose Institute in Los Angeles. Republican areas actually had higher growth than Democratic ones. ‘By the numbers, Republicans should have held at least the same number of seats, but they lost.’” (“How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission,” ProPublica, 12/21/2011)

  • “As part of a national look at redistricting, ProPublica reconstructed the Democrats’ stealth success in California, drawing on internal memos, emails, interviews with participants and map analysis. What emerges is a portrait of skilled political professionals armed with modern mapping software and detailed voter information who managed to replicate the results of the smoked-filled rooms of old.” (“How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission,” ProPublica, 12/21/2011)

Democrat Incumbents And Their Allies Repeatedly Manipulated The California Commission To Draw Safe Districts For Themselves

“According to an internal memo, Democrats recognized early on that they could protect nearly every incumbent in Northern California if they won a few key battles. First, they had to make sure no district crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.Then, they had to draw a new seat that pulled sufficient numbers of Democrats from Contra Costa County into a district that included Republicans from the San Joaquin Valley.” (“How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission,” ProPublica, 12/21/2011)

“The man with the most to lose was Rep. Jerry McNerney, who represented an octopus-shaped district that had scooped in Democrats from the areas east of San Francisco…. [T]hen a previously unknown group calling itself OneSanJoaquin entered the fray…. Democrats were one move ahead and understood that a united valley would inevitably lead to a Democratic-leaning district…. In fact, the only way to make a district with ‘one San Joaquin’ was to pull in the Democrats in eastern Contra Costa — the far reaches of San Francisco’s Bay-area liberals. The author of OneSanJoaquin’s maps was not identified on the Facebook page, but ProPublica has learned it was Paul Mitchell, a redistricting consultant hired by McNerney…. After the commission finished, McNerney announced he was moving to the newly created San Joaquin district to run for re-election. It was a huge improvement for him.” (“How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission,” ProPublica, 12/21/2011)

“One politician who benefited was Southern California Congresswoman Judy Chu. When it appeared that Chu would get an unfavorable district late in the game, a group with ties to the congresswoman went before the commission in Sacramento and convinced the commissioners to draw a favorable map that included her political stronghold, a town called Rosemead. Chu enjoyed broad support in Rosemead, where she was first elected to the school board in 1992 and later served in the state assembly. The group, which called itself the Asian American Education Institute, worked with Paul Mitchell, the same consultant who helped engineer the triumph of Northern California Democrats. Records show that crucial last-minute testimony in favor of Chu’s district was delivered by Jennifer Wada, who told commissioners she was representing the institute and the overall Asian-American community. Wada did not mention that she lives and works as a registered lobbyist in Sacramento, 400 miles from the district, or that she grew up in rural Idaho, where most of her family still lives. Wada says she was hired by the institute to ‘convey their concerns about Asian and Pacific Islander representation’ to the commission…. Commissioners accepted this map without asking a basic question: Who, exactly, was the Asian American Education Institute representing?” (“How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission,” ProPublica, 12/21/2011)

“Outside Los Angeles, residents of what’s known as Little Saigon begged the commission to undo what they saw as decades of discrimination and put the U.S.’s largest Vietnamese community together in one district. Instead, the community was split in two — a result of testimony by supporters of Rep. Loretta Sanchez, including a former staffer and one of her wedding guests, to get her a safe district. A large section of Little Saigon ended up in a district with Long Beach, a town that is 1 percent Vietnamese.” (“How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission,” ProPublica, 12/21/2011)

And Sure Enough In The 2012 Election, ‘The Redistricting Process Delivered Congressional Districts To Democrats’

“The redistricting process delivered congressional districts to Democrats around Sacramento and in the 31st and 56th in the southern part of the state for a net gain of one seat from the GOP. That margin could grow to a gain of four seats as races in the 7th, 36th and 52nd congressional districts had Democrats leading by narrow margins. Should those wins hold for the Democrats, roughly one in four California congressional seats could change parties, and voters would have sent 13 rookie legislators to Washington.” (“How Election 2012, Redistricting Changed California’s Congressional Map,” KPCC, 11/08/2012)

It Wasn’t Until 2020 That Republicans Picked Up A House Seat In California For The First Time Since 1998

“Republican Mike Garcia won the competitive special election to replace a Democrat in California’s 25th Congressional District... The outcome marked the first time in 22 years that Republicans picked up a seat in California.” (“Republican Mike Garcia Wins Democratic-Held House Seat In California In A Boost For GOP,” The Washington Post, 5/13/2020)



Related Issues: Campaigns & Elections, First Amendment