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.