The House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday evening, that numerous critics believe will infringe on the rights of free speech and free association of all, ordinary American citizens.
The bill, labeled as the ‘For the People’ act (or H.R.1 bill officially), federalizes state election law and significantly undermines numerous, electoral safeguards when it comes to in-person and mail-in voting.
The bill passed 220-210, with every Republican voting against but two, who refused, and every Democrat voting for it but one, who voted against.
What’s in the bill?
The H.R.1 bill requires all states to allow any, eligible voter to vote via a mail-in ballot, after the Democrats saw terrific success with this voter method in 2020, amidst accusations of tampering and voter fraud.
The bill also orders all states to allow eligible voters to drop off their mail-in votes using ballot drop-boxes, similar to the venues that Mark Zuckerberg’s Center for Technology and Civic Life sponsored throughout 2020, which led to a dramatic increase in voter turnout in blue states.
The bill then orders all states to accept ballots that have been received up to 10 days after the ballots have shut, provided that they have been postmarked on or before the day of the election, which caused major issues in Pennsylvania in 2020, with numerous accusations of postmarked dates and matched signatures being tampered with.
H.R.1 also reshapes the voter registration system, by automatically registering all citizens that are deemed eligible to vote, which Republicans warn could cause major issues.
They believe the system could end up accidentally double-registering citizens who would have changed address, as well as granting the right to vote to numerous felons and illegal immigrants.
The bill then goes on explicitly to state that those who have been registered by mistake, individuals who wouldn’t ordinarily be eligible (such as illegal immigrants), will be exempt from prosecution.
How does the bill infringe on various rights?
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Zack Pruitt stated that the H.R.1 bill directly ‘tramples on the free speech and freedom of association rights of American citizens’, as the bill orders all ‘politically-active’ organizations, including non-profit groups, to disclose the information of donors who give them more than $10,000.
Republicans argue that this decision will discourage Americans from banding together to finance a cause that they all believe in.
The Republicans have also accused the Democrats of turning the Federal Election Commission into a ‘partisan weapon’, as the bill decreases the number of those who sit on the commission from 6 to 5, a move they say will allow the commission to ‘do their jobs properly’.
However, Pruitt argues that this bill imposes’ unworkable and invasive regulations’ on the rights of all Americans to discuss policy and to exercise their ‘constitutionally protected freedoms’.
He continues by explaining that the bill will intrude on the private financial decisions that ordinary Americans make in regards to the election, subjecting them to harassment and intimidation once their information has been made public.
Pruitt continues by arguing that this bill directly goes against the ruling made in the Supreme Court case of NAACP v. Alabama (1958), where the Supreme Court protected the organization from harassment from the government after the state of Alabama had ordered the NAACP to hand over a list of information regarding their members.
The Democrats like to put catchy, friendly names on their bills, especially after the passing of the Equality Act earlier this week, which infringes on the rights of religious freedom.
However, once you actually begin to dissect these Democratic bills, they always end up doing more harm than good, and in the case of H.R.1, the integrity of the Federal elections of the United States faces a slippery slope in the years ahead.