Ferguson: House bill is unconstitutional

Published 6:00 am Saturday, March 2, 2019

American elections are the hallmark of our democracy. Every two years, Americans head to the polls to vote for their representatives in Congress and, every four years, they decide who will lead our nation and kickstart the peaceful transition of power. This process is a beacon of freedom to people around the world. But instead of celebrating this inalienable right, Democrats are seeking to strangle it.

H.R. 1, the bill Democrats have deemed their most important piece of legislation in the 116th Congress, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Democrats will tell you that this legislation expands your freedoms at the ballot box, but it actually limits Americans’ rights with unconstitutional government overreach.

This bill completely overrides the state election laws that have secured our elections for over 200 years and runs rough shod over states’ electoral processes. Every American’s vote must be counted and protected, but H.R. 1 puts everyone’s vote at risk by federalizing our election process. Part of the strength of our voting system is that elections are decentralized, making it difficult for our enemies to undermine our system. This becomes significantly easier if there is a single point of attack that could disable an entire presidential election.

Election fraud has long been politically fraught, but we can all agree that we must work against any bad actors who would disrupt our electoral process.

H.R. 1 fails to implement checks and balances to safeguard voter registration, forcing states to expand online voter registration, automatic voter registration and same day voter registration — all of which are vulnerable to fraud. This bill also fails to criminalize fraudulent voter registration, ensuring there is no way to protect our system from those seeking to exploit it.

The federal government helps state governments ensure free and fair elections, but it does not get involved in election outcomes. That is the job of the voters. At least, that is what I believe. H.R. 1 makes it clear that my Democratic colleagues disagree.

Not only would H.R. 1 grant federal workers six days of paid vacation to serve as poll watchers, it would also create a six to one government match for small dollar donations of $200 or less in a congressional or presidential campaign. That means the government would be giving up to $1,200 in taxpayer dollars to a campaign for each of these donations. To make matters worse, H.R. 1 establishes a pilot program to give eligible voters a $25 voucher to donate to the campaign of their choosing.

These are all hard-earned taxpayer dollars that the government is now giving away to candidates running for federal office. Essentially, Democrats want to use your hard-earned tax dollars to bankroll their next campaign.  Every American has the freedom to donate to these candidates, but taxpayer dollars that are sent to the federal government should not be used to influence the outcomes of our elections. The federal government is not an ATM for candidates seeking an elected position.

Democrats claim that H.R. 1 would empower Americans and protect their right to vote, but they are actually dictating election outcomes and putting our electoral system at risk. The right to vote is sacred in this country, and Americans have devoted their lives to expanding and protecting our voting rights.

My colleagues and I are committed to protecting this vital freedom and will work to defeat this blatant effort to trample on the Constitution.