For as long as politicians have been passing legislation, there have been measurable consequences to that legislation – both intentional and unintentional. Usually, the final impact is not known for years after a law is passed. We could write a book predicting problems with the proposed federal bill, H.R.1, the so-called For the People Act, but the state of Connecticut has given American taxpayers a timely preview of the burdens and waste we can expect from just one of the bill’s many government mandates. Specifically, the requirement that states must mail out ballot applications to all registered voters will unnecessarily spend, and ultimately waste, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
The 2020 elections in Connecticut provide a cautionary preview of this proposed requirement in H.R. 1 to send absentee ballot applications (ABR) to every registered voter. Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill (pictured) did exactly that, spending $7.1 million in federal taxpayer money sending out unsolicited ABRs for the primary and general elections. A total of 3.6 million applications were mailed, yet only 865,000 were converted to actual votes. That’s a cost of $8.20 per ballot returned – by any measure, a poor yield on that investment.
The sad irony about this waste of taxpayers’ money is that the applications were available to voters free of charge either at town halls or on the State of Connecticut website. One had only to pick up the form in person or download and print it in the comfort of his own home. Other states have similarly convenient options for obtaining ABRs and provide for ballot applications to be requested online, by email or by phone. Citizens in these states take responsibility for their right to vote, and the states facilitate their doing so, rather than mandate it.
Democrats have already passed H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act, in the House of Representatives; fortunately, the bill faces a much tougher road in the Senate. Among the bill’s many serious problems are a wide array that I would characterize as “mechanical,” in the sense that they dictate the nuts and bolts of how states would run elections. H.R. 1 attempts to dictate these elements in a way that is either impossible to put into effect or would gut the effective administration of elections. One example is how H.R. 1 dictates, through its Section 1621, that states must deal with signature verification – a cornerstone of election security, especially with the growth of mail-in balloting.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday published a lengthy defense of the state’s new Republican-sponsored election reform bill, which legislators passed Thursday. According to Kemp’s Facebook page, the new law requires the following:
A new poll indicates that an overwhelming majority of Americans, including majorities of black Americans and Hispanic Americans, are in favor of stricter voting ID laws and other measures to combat voter fraud, according to Breitbart.
The poll comes from the Honest Elections Project (HEP), and its results were detailed in a memo sent to members of Congress by HEP’s executive director Jason Snead. The memo was sent to Congress in anticipation of Wednesday’s hearing in the Senate Rules Committee over H.R. 1, a bill that has passed the House and now faces the Senate, which proposes numerous radical changes to election laws and procedures on the federal level.
On March 16, President Joe Biden opened the door to changing Senate rules requiring 60 votes in order to advance legislation, telling ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos “democracy is having a hard time functioning.”
When asked if he had to choose between “preserving the filibuster, and advancing your agenda,” Biden’s answer was “Yes.”
Biden continued, “But here’s the choice: I don’t think that you have to eliminate the filibuster, you have to do it what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days…You had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking.”