GOP AGs say House voting rights bill unconstitutional
A group of 20 Republican attorney generals are criticizing the voting rights bill approved Wednesday night in the House, writing in a letter to congressional leaders that H.R. 1 would “impose burdensome costs and regulations on state and local officials.”
The attorneys general, lead by Indiana’s Todd Rokita (R), said in the letter that the bill “betrays several Constitutional deficiencies and alarming mandates that, if passed, would federalize state elections and impose burdensome costs and regulations on state and local officials.”
“The Act would invert that constitutional structure, commandeer state resources, confuse and muddle elections procedures, and erode faith in our elections and systems of governance. Accordingly, Members of Congress may wish to consider the Act’s constitutional vulnerabilities as well as the policy critiques of state officials,” the letter read.
The House passed H.R. 1 on Wednesday in a party-line vote, with no Republicans supporting the measure.
It would require states to offer mail-in ballots, a minimum of 15 days of early voting and also calls for online and same-day voter registration.
President Biden praised the House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) on Thursday for passing the bill.
“The right to vote is sacred and fundamental — it is the right from which all of our other rights as Americans spring. This landmark legislation is urgently needed to protect that right, to safeguard the integrity of our elections, and to repair and strengthen our democracy,” Biden said in a statement.
They GOP attorneys general criticized the bill’s expansion of mail-in voting and allowing late ballots to be accepted. They also blasted automatic voter registration, claiming it would “provide too many opportunities for non-citizens and others ineligible to vote to register and cast fraudulent ballots before officials can take preventive action.”
“Perhaps most egregious is the Act’s limitations on voter ID laws,” the attorney generals continued. “Fairly considered, requiring government-issued photo identification at the polls represents nothing more than a best practice for election administration. Government-issued photo identification has been the global standard for documentary identification for decades.”
Members of the GOP have largely criticized the legislation, painting it as a power grab by Democrats. A similar bill passed in the House last year but was not taken up by the Senate, then controlled by the GOP.
They attorneys general promised they would seek “legal remedies” if H.R. 1 is passed and becomes law.
“Despite recent calls for political unity, the Act takes a one-sided approach to governing and usurps states’ authority over elections,” the letter continued. “With confidence in elections at a record low, the country’s focus should be on building trust in the electoral process. Around the nation, the 2020 general elections generated mass confusion and distrust—problems that the Act would only exacerbate.”
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