The Facts About H.R. 1—the For the People Act of 2019

Report Election Integrity

The Facts About H.R. 1—the For the People Act of 2019

February 1, 2019 3 min read Download Report
The Heritage Foundation

Summary

H.R. 1 federalizes and micromanages the election process administered by the states, imposing unnecessary, unwise, and unconstitutional mandates on the states and reversing the decentralization of the American election process—which is necessary for protecting our liberty and freedom. The bill interferes with the ability of states and their citizens to determine qualifications for voters, to ensure the accuracy of voter registration rolls, to secure the integrity of elections, to participate in the political process, and to determine the district boundary lines for electing their representatives.

Key Takeaways

H.R. 1 federalizes and micromanages the election process administered by the states, imposing unnecessary, unwise, and unconstitutional mandates on the states.

The bill interferes with the ability of states and their citizens to determine qualifications for voters and to ensure the accuracy of voter registration rolls.

H.R. 1 reverses the decentralization of the American election process—which is necessary for protecting our liberty and freedom.

The Issue

H.R. 1 federalizes and micromanages the election process administered by the states, imposing unnecessary, unwise, and unconstitutional mandates on the states and reversing the decentralization of the American election process—which is necessary for protecting our liberty and freedom.

The bill interferes with the ability of states and their citizens to determine qualifications for voters, to ensure the accuracy of voter registration rolls, to secure the integrity of elections, to participate in the political process, and to determine the district boundary lines for electing their representatives.

>>> Related: View Heritage’s Election Fraud Database

What H.R. 1 Would Do:

  • Seize the authority of states to regulate voter registration and the voting process by forcing states to implement early voting, automatic voter registration, same-day registration, online voter registration, and no-fault absentee balloting.
  • Make it easier to commit fraud and promotes chaos at the polls through same-day registration, as election officials have no time to verify the accuracy of voter registration information and cannot anticipate the number of voters, ballots, and precinct workers that will be needed.
  • Hurt voter turnout through early voting by diffusing the intensity of get-out-the-vote efforts; it raises the cost of campaigns. Voters who vote early don’t have the same information as those who vote on Election Day, missing late-breaking developments that could affect their choices.
  • Degrade the accuracy of registration lists by automatically registering individuals from state databases, such as DMV and welfare offices, by registering large numbers of ineligible voters, including aliens as well as multiple or duplicate registrations of the same individuals.
  • Constitute a recipe for massive voter registration fraud by hackers and cyber criminals through online voter registration not tied to an existing state record, such as a driver’s license.
  • Require states to count ballots cast by voters outside of their assigned precinct, overriding the precinct system used by almost all states that allows election officials to monitor votes, staff polling places, provide enough ballots, and prevent election fraud. Mandates no-fault absentee ballots, which are the tool of choice for vote thieves.
  • Prevent election officials from checking the eligibility and qualifications of voters and remove ineligible voters. This includes restrictions on using the U.S. Postal Service’s national change-of-address system to verify the address of registered voters; participating in state programs that compare voter registration lists to detect individuals registered in multiple states; or ever removing registrants due to a failure to vote no matter how much time has gone by.
  • Cripple the effectiveness of state voter ID laws by allowing individuals to vote without an ID and merely signing a statement in which they claim they are who they say they are.
  • Violate the First Amendmentandcould cover a vast range of legal activity. Voter intimidation or coercion that prevents someone from registering or voting is already a federal crime under the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act. But H.R. 1 adds an additional provision to prevent interference with registering or voting that is so vague that it could easily interfere with free speech and other lawful activity.
  • Expand regulation and government censorship of campaigns and political activity and speech, including online and policy-related speech. H.R. 1 imposes onerous legal and administrative compliance burdens and costs on candidates, citizens, civic groups, unions, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Many of these provisions violate the First Amendment, protect incumbents, and reduce the accountability of politicians to the public.
  • Reduce the number of Federal Election Commission members from six to five, allowing the political party with three commission seats to control the commission and engage in partisan enforcement activities.
  • Prohibit state election officials from participating in federal elections and impose numerous other “ethics” rules that are unconstitutional or unfairly restrict political activity.
  • Require states torestore the ability of felons to vote the moment they are out of prison. Section 2 of the 14th Amendment gives states the constitutional authority to decide when felons who committed crimes against their fellow citizens may vote again. Congress cannot override a constitutional amendment with a statute.
  • Transfer the right to draw congressional districts from state legislatures to “independent” commissions whose members are unaccountable to voters. H.R. 1 makes it a violation of federal law to engage in “partisan” redistricting and mandates inclusion of alien population, both legal and illegal, in all redistricting. This is an anti-democratic, unconstitutional measure that takes away the ability of the citizens of a state to make their own decision about redistricting.
  • Violate separation of powers and directly interfere with the President’s constitutional duties. H.R. 1 bans his political appointees, such as the Attorney General, from participating in, directing the defense of, or assisting in any matter (including lawsuits against a President’s policies, programs, executive orders, or his enforcement of the law) in which the President is named as a party.

Authors

The Heritage Foundation