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Top Election Law Experts Tear Into HR1: Will Breed 'Cynicism' and 'Mistrust' in Election Results

Two of the nation’s top election experts — The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky and National Review’s John Fund — along with Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft agreed that H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” would have a disastrous impact on U.S. elections.

All three explained the many reasons why this bill, which passed the House of Representatives earlier this month with no Republican support, would fundamentally change how elections are conducted, while participating in the Election Integrity Virtual Conference hosted by the Regent University Robertson School of Government in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“H.R. 1 is the worst bill I’ve ever seen and the most dangerous bill I have ever seen when it comes to elections,” von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission, told panel moderator Dean Michele Bachmann.

Von Spakovsky and Fund — who co-authored the 2012 book, “Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk” — both pointed out that H.R. 1 would overturn voter I.D. laws, which are present in 34 states.

Other changes mandated by the bill would be same-day voter registration, ballot harvesting and automatic voter registration.

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Automatic voter registration would mean large portions of the estimated millions of illegal immigrants living in America would be registered to vote if they have any interaction with a government agency, such as obtaining a driver’s license or attending a state university.

H.R. 1 directs that no illegal alien can be civilly or criminally prosecuted for being registered to vote, Von Spakovsky said, which he argued means Democrats fully expect that to happen.

“This [bill] is not something that will inspire confidence in our elections. It will breed cynicism, mistrust and despair,” Fund said.

Do you oppose H.R. 1?

Fund contrasted H.R. 1 with the “Help America Vote Act” of 2002, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the aftermath of the presidential race between former President George W. Bush and Democratic contender Al Gore in 2000 when the Supreme Court had to make the final determination.

Democratic co-sponsor of the ’02 legislation, former Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, said at the time, according to Fund, “‘This bill is designed to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. We’re Americans. We can do both at the same time.’”

“Contrast that with the approach of H.R. 1. There were no effective hearings on this bill. It was rammed through on a party-line vote. Not a single Republican in the House of Representatives voted for it,” Fund added.

Ashcroft contended that H.R. 1 is unconstitutional, citing Articles I and II that grant the states power to conduct elections.

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He also pointed to multiple constitutional amendments, including the 15th (providing that voting rights would not be denied based on race), 17th (elaborating on how U.S. senators are elected), 19th (giving women the right to vote) and 26th (lowering the voting age to 18), as proof that when the federal government wanted to change election laws nationwide, it had to do so through the amendment process.

“It is an unconstitutional encroachment upon the right of states in its current form,” Ashcroft said.

“And in Missouri, we will do two things if it passes and gets signed: We will file a lawsuit … and then we will tell the federal government to pound sand because we will follow the Constitution regardless of what the United States Congress does.”

The Senate Rules and Administration Committee held a hearing on H.R. 1 on Wednesday.

Fund anticipates if the Democrats garner enough support for the bill, a vote could come as early as April, but some change to the filibuster rule would likely need to happen for it to pass.

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