Ken Blackwell Blasts Patrick Leahy’s Latest Attempt at Federal Elections Takeover

M. Spencer Green, File/AP Photo
M. Spencer Green, File/AP Photo

Ken Blackwell blasted Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) recently revised version of HR 4, labeled by Democrats as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, on Wednesday.

“Pat Leahy’s bill is the latest cannon blast in the Pelosi-Schumer Power Grab against the ramparts of the Constitution, as they do the bidding of  Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to destroy the constitutional principle that the 50 sovereign states have the lead role in American elections,” Blackwell, the chairman of the Center for Election Integrity at the America First Policy Institute, told Breitbart News on Wednesday.

“While Republicans work to make it easy to vote, but hard to cheat, the unconstitutional power grab would take the chaos of the 2020 election and make it permanent,” Blackwell added.

Ken Blackwell, former mayor of Cincinnati and former Ohio Secretary of State gives the invocation for the Make America Great Again Event with Vice President Mike Pence at Lunken Airport Wednesday, October 21, 2020.

In an interview on The Bill Walton Show Tuesday night, Blackwell, who has previously served as the Mayor of Cincinnati, the Treasurer of Ohio, and the Secretary of State of Ohio, pointed out the integrity problems that arose in the 2020 election due to the use of coronavirus emergency powers to dramatically increase the use of mail-in ballots, and how HR 4, if passed would increase the likelihood of fraud and lower voter confidence in election integrity.

“The opportunity in 2020 created a situation where there was loose use of mass mail-in ballots. What the Lewis Act [HR 4] would do, what S1 and HR1 would do was to actually take the guard rails off of mass mail-in balloting, and make it widespread, ” Blackwell said, adding:

Well, let me just tell you, I am the cochairman of the International Foundation For Electoral Systems, and we, in fact, help countries all over the world with voting integrity matters and voting administration matters. There is not another country in the world that uses mail-in balloting the scale that we used it in 2020. And the reason for that is because you don’t have the accountability systems in terms of verification, and you lose the chain of custody, opening the system up to widespread fraud and irregularities and incompetencies, and that destroyed the confidence. And so this is a power struggle, simply put.

Sen. Leahy, in contrast, framed the push for more mail-in voting in HR 4 as an extension of the right to vote.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 17: Rep John Lewis (D-GA) (R) greets committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (L) after testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 17, 2013 in Washington, DC. Lewis and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner testified during a full committee hearing on “From Selma to Shelby County: Working Together to Restore the Protections of the Voting Rights Act.” (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“Congressman Lewis would want us to come together and find a path forward to addressing the many threats facing Americans’ foundational right to vote,” Sen. Leahy said in a statement released by his office on Tuesday, adding:

 But what he would not accept is inaction.  Now is the time to restore the Voting Rights Act – a bedrock voting rights law – and ensure that every citizen is guaranteed their constitutionally protected right to vote. Protecting the right to vote has never been a partisan issue.  Reauthorizing and improving the Voting Rights Act has always been a bipartisan effort.  There is simply no reason for that to change now.  This is straightforward, commonsense legislation to address the Supreme Court’s decisions and to ensure that the Voting Rights Act continues to have the effect long intended: to protect the right to vote.

Tuesday’s statement from Sen. Leahy’s office continued:

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a senior member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday along with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and 45 other Senators introduced legislation to restore the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA) and stop the spreading scourge of voter suppression. The legislation – the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act – is named for an icon of the Civil Rights movement, the late Congressman John Lewis, and reflects an update to legislation introduced in the last Congress.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s damaging Shelby County decision in 2013 – which crippled the federal government’s ability under the 1965 Voting Rights Act to prevent discriminatory changes to voting laws and procedures – states across the country have unleashed a torrent of voter suppression schemes that have systematically disenfranchised tens of thousands of American voters. The Supreme Court’s more recent Brnovich decision earlier this year delivered yet another body blow to the Voting Rights Act, by making it significantly harder for plaintiffs to win lawsuits under the landmark law against discriminatory voting laws or procedures.

You can watch Blackwell’s comments on The Bill Walton Show Episode 154: Restoring Our Election Integrity here:

The Senate Judiciary Commitee is scheduled to hold hearings on HR 4 Wednesday afternoon.

You can read the most recent version of HR 4 here.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.