Democrats passed legislation Tuesday that would federalize America’s electoral system, giving President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) significant control over election law.
The House passed H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021. The bill passed 219-212, with Democrats strongly in favor of the bill and Republicans largely against the bill.
Democrats named the bill after the late Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a prominent civil rights activist.
The legislation would radically transform America’s electoral system. The legislation would mandate that any state and its political subdivisions would have to obtain preclearance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before making changes that might affect voting rights.
A state and its political subdivision would be subject to preclearance for a ten-year period if:
- 15 or more voting rights violations occurred in the state during the previous 25 years;
- 10 or more violations occurred during the previous 25 years, at least one of which was committed by the state itself; or
- Three or more violations occurred during the previous 25 years, and the state administers the elections.
- A political subdivision as a separate unit shall also be subject to preclearance for a 10-year period if three or more voting rights violations occurred there during the previous 25 years.
States must also notify the public of changes to voting practices. The legislation would also mandate that courts must consider the history of voting discrimination in the state or political subdivision.
But these triggering events need not be bona fide violations of voting rights. As a practical matter, if leftwing groups were to file lawsuits against Democrat-controlled cities for ordinary election integrity safeguards and the city were to admit fault and settle instead of fight it in court, that surrender would count toward the tally triggering preclearance requirements for the entire state.
House Republicans railed against the legislation:
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) said that the legislation should not fool Americans:
HR. 4 is HR. 1 (2.0), don't be fooled.
‼️ Cancels common-sense voter ID requirements
‼️ Blocks states from updating voter rolls
‼️ Allows for electioneering
‼️ Federalizes America's elections
‼️ Gives the DOJ power to veto state election law
HR. 4 isn't for the people.
— Congressman Byron Donalds (@RepDonaldsPress) August 24, 2021
H.R. 4 gives the Biden DOJ authority to designate a voter ID law as a voting rights violation or as evidence of voting discrimination. H.R. 4 is an unconstitutional way for the federal government to dictate elections and a way to weaken the vote of the American people!
— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) August 24, 2021
“#HR4 is nothing more than another Pelosi power play to federalize our elections. This unconstitutional attack hampers states’ ability to conduct free and fair elections, eliminates commonsense voter ID requirements, and gives DC bureaucrats veto authority. I’m voting NO,” Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), the Republican chief deputy whip, said.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.