Opinion: When it comes to voting, easier isn’t always better

This is not for the people.

  • Monday, April 12, 2021 12:56pm
  • Opinion

I am disappointed that the League of Women Voters has endorsed the For the People Act, H.R. 1, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

This act eliminates most of the guardrails that assure fair and accurate elections and undermines most of the 1993 and 2002 bipartisan election laws in an effort to make voting easier.

The legislation, among other things, would have the federal government control elections to an unprecedented degree, taking authority away from state election laws; do away with requiring ID to vote; promote vote by-mail; change the way we draw congressional districts; mandate same-day online voter registration; require nonprofits to disclose their donors (likely promoting First Amendment lawsuits); and provide for public financing of campaigns.

This is not for the people. This is for federal control. Polls show that people approve of voter ID by a substantial margin. Vote-by-mail is problematic since it entails sending a ballot to everyone on a state’s registration list. Unfortunately, although cleaning up voter rolls is a legal requirement, states have had to be sued to force them to remove the names of people who have died, people who have moved or people who haven’t voted in many years. This causes a lot of ballots to be floating around. H.R. 1 would eliminate removing the names of those who haven’t voted in many years, apparently in the hope they will surface eventually to do their civic duty. In many cases, same-day voter registration does not allow time for election officials to cross-check databases to ascertain whether someone is eligible to vote.

A final note: During the last election, much of the election coverage equated vote-by-mail and absentee balloting. They are different. The procedure to vote absentee requires requesting an absentee ballot and providing identification. Vote-by-mail has no such safeguards.

H.R. 1 was not a bipartisan effort. Hopefully, it will be rejected by the Senate. Easier is not always better.

• Judy Ripley resides in Juneau. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

More in Opinion

Have something to say?

Here’s how to add your voice to the conversation.

Now is the time to improve psychiatric patient care

May is Mental Health Awareness month.

Les Gara is a former state representative and former foster youth. Amanda Metivier is associate director of the Child Welfare Academy, Co-founder of Facing Foster Care in Alaska, a Social Worker, and also a former foster youth. (Courtesy Photo)
Opinion: Alaska is in dire need of caring foster families

COVID has possibly made you more important to foster youth than ever.

Reports show value of UA workforce development programs

The economic value of training and education is abundantly clear

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Let’s continue the clean-energy conversation

We strongly agree that our energy security and delivering clean, low-cost power is a public interest

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Cruise initiatives are only way toward reasonable change

“It’s not going to happen any other way.”

Opinion: Please don’t sign tourism initiatives

What will happen to our economy if we lose say $200 million in tourism spending?

The MV Matanuska awaits repairs at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal on Thursday as lawmakers at the state Capitol debated whether the Alaska Marine Highway System was actually a highway. A bill that would shape long-term planning for the system passed out of committee. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Opinion: The feigning champions of the ferry system

Token improvements aren’t anything to brag about.

(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: By-mail election decision needs public input

That seems like an important discussion to me.

Most Read