What You Need To Know About HR1
HR1, coined “The For the People Act” by Democrats and coined the “Corrupt Politicians Act” by Republicans, passed the house on March 5, 2021, with a 220-210 vote almost exactly on party lines. It is now in the Senate which we know has 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, with Vice President Harris empowered to cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie. So, is there any chance it will not pass the Senate? If it does, will it survive a court challenge?
HR 1 is being sold as a reform to make voting easier. In truth, it makes cheating easier. Most Constitutionalists agree that the bill contains unconstitutional provisions, particularly those which attempt to regulate state and local elections. The framers provided in Article II, Sec. 1 that only state legislatures would have the power to determine how the president is chosen. No national rules.
Our Texas Legislators are currently attempting to pass Texas legislation that separates state and local elections from federal elections so that if HR1 passes, it could not be forced on state and local elections. The problem is that HR 1 also contains provisions that interfere with the State’s ability to clean up voter rolls.
Here are some of the problems with HR1:
The bill forces all the states to conform to a set of rules that includes automatic voter registration. Anyone who goes to a DMV or applies for food stamps, Medicaid, or other social services, or attends a public college will be automatically enrolled to vote. Noncitizens are obligated to identify themselves and opt-out, but there are no criminal penalties if they do not.
HR1 also bans state voter ID requirements. Anyone can show up on Election Day to vote, registered or not, and simply sign a statement that they are eligible to vote.
HR 1 compels states to send out absentee or mail-in ballots universally. It also forces states to count ballots that arrive by mail as late as 10 days after the election.
HR 1 also legalizes ballot harvesting, a practice many states are struggling to stop. A political organization pays a worker to walk through housing projects and neighborhoods, knock on doors, offer to help residents fill out the ballots they have received in the mail, and then submit the piles of completed ballots. It is a recipe for fraud. It is also unconstitutional.
HR 1 also asserts Congress has the authority to make the District of Columbia into the 51st state. That would hand Democrats two more Senate seats, breaking the current 50-50 tie. Voter registration in D.C. is 76% Democratic and only 6% Republican.
You can read the 800 pages of HR1 here:
Ted Cruz/s article about HR1 is here:
What Are Our Chances to Defeat it?
Under current Senate rules, 60 votes are needed to enact HR 1. Democrats do not have them yet. It is up to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to protect the 60-vote filibuster rule. He is called the bill “the Democratic Politician Protection Act,” and deplores it as a naked attempt to change the election rules to benefit one party. As many of you have heard, Democrats are trying to get rid of the filibuster rule. If they do, this bill will likely pass.
Democrats have a few options at their disposal. They could end the filibuster outright with a simple majority vote (with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote), or they could abolish the filibuster only for election-related bills that are critical for democracy, an idea floated by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) They could also force Republicans to speak continuously on the Senate floor to sustain a filibuster which would make it tougher for Republicans. Another option: lower the threshold for passing filibustered bills from 60 votes to 55 votes.
We must start swamping Senate offices with phone calls faxes, letters, or emails telling All senators (Democrats and Republicans) to vote AGAINST HR1 and against ending the filibuster.
Joanie Bain, VRW Legislative Chair