Commentary: If Democrats respect the people, why do they reject our right to enact election laws?

H.R. 4 may be the most lethal threat ever posed to the American experiment in self-governance and federalism.

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi meet in the Oval Office. (White House/Flickr)

Update: With help from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, President Joe Biden is ready to push for a federal takeover of elections and is willing to “reform” the filibuster to get an elections bill without any support from Republicans. H.R. 1/S.1 is back in play (puts Congress in charge of election law for the entire nation) but is now S.2093. This is known as the “Manchin compromise.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has teed up another cloture vote on the motion to proceed to S.2093, the Klobuchar substitute that failed 50-50 on June 22. The S.2093 vote may happen this week or next week but since there is no legislative text yet and it is a short week with Senate nominations scheduled, next week (or later) is more likely. It’s not clear what will happen: the Senate may support a Congressional takeover of elections via S.2093, or go with H.R.4/S.4 that empowers the Department of Justice to vet state laws as described below. Both options are an affront to the Constitution.

I wrote recently that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called the House back from August recess — an unusual move as summer recess is sacred. Last month, while our country was abandoning American citizens in Afghanistan, House members returned to the swamp to prove, in case there was any doubt, that nothing is sacred anymore.

What was Pelosi so hell-bent on getting done during a national crisis?

In a bruising two-day session, Pelosi beat three things out of her majority. The House advanced a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill; and passed, without a single vote from Republicans, a $3.5 trillion budget resolution and, most importantly, H.R. 4 — the planned federal takeover of elections.

H.R. 4 may be the most lethal threat ever posed to the American experiment in self-governance and federalism. In short, it would put an unaccountable, elitist bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. in charge of vetting state elections laws, and give that bureaucracy a mandate to force all citizens of the Unites States to live under voting laws that make it easy to vote and even easier to cheat.

And now the Senate, returning to D.C. next week, is expected to take up H.R. 4.

Citizens please do your part: there is no doubt that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer views H.R. 4 as a top priority. But the filibuster — and a group of more temperate Democrats led by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia — are all that stand in the way of getting H.R. 4 passed. Do not take your eyes off Washington, do not rely on the Supreme Court to stop this, and contact moderate senators like Manchin (see suggested list at the bottom) to insist that they oppose H.R. 4.

If Biden, as promised, signs the budget and infrastructure bills into law, the nation’s fiscal integrity will continue to slide, further consigning Americans to indentured servitude to pay for government debt and a massive welfare state.

But the impact of H.R. 4 on the nation’s election integrity, if enacted and executed by the still very-young Biden administration, will rob all Americans of our most precious right to vote in free and fair elections administered under laws passed by the people we elect — or send packing at the state level.

Article 1, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution entrusts states with the administration of all elections, and has done so since 1789. H.R. 4 very quickly would nullify that constitutional promise of state power and self-governance.

Given that the right to vote is the very foundation for all other rights of citizenship — and the right to have each vote properly administered and counted is indispensable to a functioning democracy — where are Gov. Tim Walz, Secretary of State Steve Simon, and Attorney General Keith Ellison?

Why are these state executives not defending Minnesota’s constitutional right to administer our own elections? (Not that Minnesota is doing an even passing job administering elections, but that is another topic for another day.)

The answer is that Walz, Simon and Ellison are all on board with H.R. 4 — and so are both of Minnesota’s senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.

They all heartily approve of Minnesota’s “progressive” approach to elections, given that it favors the Democratic Party and the metro areas over the rest of the state. In fact, H.R. 4 would help Secretary Simon achieve a goal he has not been able to get through the legislature — getting rid of Minnesota’s ban on ballot harvesting and an absentee ballot witness requirement, two of the few election-integrity laws Minnesota has left.

States like Florida and Texas that enjoy relatively good election laws would be tied up in litigation, fighting an uphill battle to keep elections fair and free of fraud.

How will H.R. 4 change state election laws?

It will subject the election laws and systems of all 50 states to scrutiny by a notoriously biased section at the Department of Justice (DOJ), known as the Voting Section. That department, wholly unaccountable to voters, has operated for decades without regard to the current occupant of the White House or the 50 state governments. It is part of the permanent bureaucracy, deep in the swamp.

According to our friends at the Public Interest Legal Foundation:

“The DOJ Voting Section’s staff and leadership have a troubling symbiotic relationship with liberal advocacy groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, Brennan Center, and more. The alliance and influence on DOJ by these groups was highlighted by a Georgia federal judge in a scathing opinion that included ‘the considerable influence of ACLU advocacy on the voting rights decisions of the United States Attorney General is an embarrassment’ and expressing the court’s ‘surprise’ that the DOJ was ‘so blind to this impropriety.’

This bias has not changed. A 2013 report from the DOJ Inspector General criticized the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division for hiring a majority of its lawyers from only five advocacy organizations: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); National Council of La Raza; NAACP; the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR); and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).”

Do you want these powerful bureaucrats and lawyers in Washington, working in concert with left-wing activist litigation groups, in charge of vetting, and effectively repealing, the election laws it deems unworthy in all 50 states?

Imagine what would happen if America had voting laws even sloppier than Minnesota? That will be life under an H.R. 4 regime.

What is going on here?

All of this is being done under the guise of updating the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) —as if America is voting under the old racist ways of the Jim Crow era. H.R. 4 would resurrect and build on the architecture of a process called “preclearance” that the DOJ used to end Jim Crow practices mostly in Southern states.

H.R. 4 is based on the lie that America is systemically and irredeemably racist; the majority in Congress and the Biden administration do not believe in this dogma coming out of Critical Race Theory (CRT), but it is a convenient lie to advance a scheme that favors a permanent “Democratic” majority.

It is also based on the lie that black Americans and other minorities do not have identification. Not only is that racist, but it is also absurd.

The Democrats, along with their lapdog Fortune 500 CEOs and corporate media, attack election integrity measures like Voter ID as racist. Never mind that most blacks and immigrants who become citizens support Voter ID, or that voter turnout increases among minorities where it is required. They are also attacking the right of states to audit their elections; that again is another story.

Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer and the Biden administration know that when enough voters across the country connect the dots between bad policies and the chaos in their lives, they will vote in 2022 to send their majority packing, so they want to make sure that does not happen by permanently disenfranchising any opposition.

It’s as if the Democratic party has gotten tired of democracy itself. Instead of embracing electoral politics, the Democrats now just want rules that would give them permanent power. Don’t let them do it.

Note: Suggested list of senators to contact about H.R. 4 are Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Mark Kelly, Jon Tester, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Maggie Hassan. You should call Klobuchar and Smith to chastise them and mock their “moderate” reputation.

Don’t miss Kim Crockett and Ned Ryun’s upcoming event in Plymouth, Minnesota. Learn more here: bit.ly/3E2ImUB