Excerpts of remarks by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
In the House of Representatives—March 3, 2021
Mr. Speaker, the precious right to vote in free and fair elections at all levels in the United States will be seriously jeopardized if H.R. 1 becomes law.
Under an egregiously false façade of reform, the legislation consolidates and conveys new sweeping powers to regulate elections to bureaucrats in the federal government and nullifies all existing state laws requiring valid identification before either registering to vote or casting a ballot.
More than two-thirds of states currently rely on voter ID laws to protect the sanctity of the vote. Weaking—even prohibiting—certain safeguards against fraud will make our elections less secure, more vulnerable to fraudulent activity, and will undermine participation in our democracy.
Other safeguards designed to mitigate voter fraud are also abolished, including bans on ballot harvesting.
All states will be required to enable the practice of same day registration and voting which precludes any serious process at the local level to verify the eligibility of the applicant to vote.
By making it illegal to scrutinize voter rolls with an interstate cross-check and by refusing any cross-check removals from the voter rolls within six months of an election, officials will be stymied in their duty to remove illegal and ineligible voters.
H.R. 1 is embedded with free speech infringements that even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has harshly criticized saying it “contains significant flaws that are detrimental to the health of our democracy.”
H.R. 1 politicizes the FEC by turning the current bipartisan commission into a partisan entity and expands the powers of the FEC chair, effectively destroying the agency’s ability to ensure fair elections by leaving important decisions on what is acceptable speech to a single individual.
And by allowing the IRS to investigate and consider political views of an organization before granting tax-exempt status, this legislation empowers federal bureaucrats—with agendas—to decide which views should be rewarded or penalized.
The bill also mandates states to give the right to vote to all felons who have been released from prison. Yesterday, the Democrats tried—but failed—to go further with an amendment to expand voting rights to criminals currently serving time in jail.
H.R. 1 creates a 6 to 1 funding match for contributions of $200 or less to a congressional or presidential campaign—meaning for every $200, the federal government will match $1,200.
The Congress can—and must—do better.
Read online here.