Exclusive—Sen. Tom Cotton: The Democrats’ H.R.1 Would Permanently Rig Our Elections

FILE - In this April 20, 2021, file photo, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republicans trying to drive a wedge between Democrats and chip away at President Joe Biden’s support are zeroing in on the violence …
Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP

President Biden is presiding over a disaster at our southern border, as waves of illegal immigrants surge into our country, overwhelming law enforcement. While Biden’s border crisis spirals out of control, Democrats in Congress are pushing an elections bill called the “For the People Act” (or H.R.1) that would shred critical safeguards on our elections, allowing individuals to vote without providing any hard proof of who they are or even whether they are legally allowed to be in our country.

It’s hardly a coincidence that Democrats are ignoring the Biden border crisis while weakening our election laws. The For the People Act might as well have been tailormade to encourage voter fraud and ensure Democrats rule the Swamp for generations to come.

The bill would federalize our elections so that states have little control over how voting proceeds within their jurisdiction. Red states like Arkansas and Florida would no longer be able to take extra precautions to ensure the integrity of their elections. Instead, election law would be dictated from Washington, D.C. in uniform—and uniformly terrible—fashion.

For example, the bill would invalidate states’ voter ID laws, which require individuals to present valid photo identification, such as a driver’s license, in order to vote. Democrats and their allies in the media like to pretend that voter ID laws are “racist,” just as they pretend that every policy and person they oppose is racist. Thankfully, the American people see through this smear. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, three-quarters of American voters support photo ID requirements, including nearly 70 percent of black voters.

If the Democrats’ election bill passes, voters would only need to self-certify that they are who they claim to be in order to vote. That means an illegal immigrant or disenfranchised felon could walk up to a polling place, make up a name, and cast a ballot, unchallenged and undetected. They could then go to every other polling place in the area and do the same thing. That’s a recipe for disaster that would encourage voter fraud on a massive scale.

The Democrats’ bill would also make permanent many of the vote-by-mail expansions that were rushed through as emergency measures during the pandemic. The free-for-all of ballot harvesting and mail-in-voting during the 2020 elections caused many Americans to have doubts and suspicions about the integrity of the vote. Shredding limitations on mail-in ballots in all future elections will only convince more voters that the electoral process is rigged and that their votes do not count. Responsible politicians should be trying to assuage voters’ fears by implementing adequate safeguards on our elections. Like electoral arsonists, the Democrats are instead pouring fuel on the fire by eliminating even the most basic protections against fraud.

Finally, the Democrats’ election bill would create a slush fund to funnel public money to political campaigns. This provision would give $6 of public funds to certain candidates for every $1 they raise from grassroots donors; it would also give some voters cash vouchers to spend on candidates of their choosing. This system will inevitably be abused by fraudsters and dishonest partisans. Congress should be investing in our military or the border wall— we could even try to pay off the federal debt that is hanging over the heads of our children like the sword of Damocles. Instead, the Democrats want some of that money to go to politicians—that’s pure pork for the powerful.

This bill is called the “For the People Act.” The right question to ask is: which people? It’s clear that the Democrats didn’t have the American people as a whole in mind when drafting this bill. This is a partisan bill intended to secure cynical political advantage for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

Apparently, Democrats agree with President Trump that fraud benefits their party. That is the only explanation for this bill.  Republicans must stop it.

Tom Cotton is a U.S. senator from Arkansas.

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