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HR 1: Blueprint for an Electoral Takeover

Posted on Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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by Outside Contributor
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87 Comments
government document and election voting buttons

HR 1, a bill sponsored by Representative John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has already passed in the House of Representatives and has been read in the Senate. The title of the bill is For the People Act of 2019, but a more accurate name for the bill might be The Federal Takeover of Elections Act of 2019. This bill includes components that, while being portrayed as making voting easier on Americans, are not only going to lead to corruption but to an unconstitutional takeover of elections by the federal government.

Is HR 1 Constitutional?

Is HR 1 Constitutional? The obvious answer for anyone familiar with the U.S. Constitution and the Federalist Papers is a resounding “No,” because there is no grant of power given to the federal government to simply take over elections.

This bill’s supporters would likely disagree with that claim and quote Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution as justification, which says:

The times, places, and manner of holding elections, for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereof, but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.

To the casual observer, this could reasonably appear to be a general grant of power to Congress to take over and regulate elections nationwide, but it’s not.

Of course, the first clue that this isn’t a general grant of power for ongoing operations can be seen in its placement. It is not among the 18 specifically enumerated powers listed in Article I, Section 8 where one can find grants of power for routine ongoing operations of the federal government, such as coining money, establishing post offices, etc.

This provision was in the U.S. Constitution primarily in case a few large states refused to hold congressional elections, thereby weakening the Congress or perhaps even depriving Congress of the ability to act for lack of a quorum. It was also possible that some states would be unable to hold elections due to invasion. While this did not happen during the War of 1812, it came close to happening in such states as Maryland, where the British attacked Fort McHenry. Had the British succeeded in their attack on Fort McHenry, it could have been possible that the State of Maryland would have become sufficiently disabled that it could not have conducted that year’s elections without support from the federal government or perhaps neighboring states.

An explanation of the intent of Article I, Section 4 can be found in the Federalist Papers, No. 59 written by Alexander Hamilton: “They have reserved to the national authority a right to interpose, whenever extraordinary circumstances might render that interposition necessary to its safety.”

Hamilton explained further:

Suppose an article had been introduced into the Congress empowering the United States to regulate the elections for the particular States, would any man have hesitated to condemn it, both as an unwarrantable transposition of power and as a premeditated engine for the destruction of the State governments?

This wording of Article I, Section 4 was hotly debated when the U.S. Constitution was being ratified because the Anti-Federalists saw the dangers it might lead to. The Anti-Federalists suggested an amendment to clarify the discretion with which the Congress was to restrain itself from using Article I, Section 4 as an excuse for an electoral takeover. Number 16 of their proposed amendments said:

That Congress shall not alter, modify, or interfere in the times, places, or manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, or either of them, except when the legislature of any state shall neglect, refuse, or be disabled, by invasion or rebellion, to prescribe the same.

The Anti-Federalists’ Amendment 16 was never passed because the intent as explained in the Federalist Papers, No. 59 was considered clear and sufficient at the time, and its intent was respected by Congress until the middle 1960s. Looking back, it appears that Anti-Federalist Amendment 16 should have been passed to keep the federal government from interfering with state elections based on political whim.

Bad Provisions for Elections

Beyond the blatant unconstitutionality of HR 1, the bill has a number of provisions that, even if they were constitutional, which they are not, are so bad for elections that this bill should be rejected by Congress and anything like it should be rejected at the state level as well.

Section 1001 of HR 1 would implement Internet voter registration. American elections have already suffered severe degradation in the area of voter registration lists caused by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, aka the Motor Voter Act — lists that were intended to be used to prevent fraudulent voting. Allowing Internet voter registration would take a bad situation and make it worse, basically providing an open door for fraudulent voting. Congress should not only defeat HR 1, but also repeal Motor Voter, something Republicans promised when they ran for Congress in 1994, but set aside once they were elected.

Section 1012 of HR 1 would implement automatic voter registration. Section 1012 of the bills explains it clearly:

“Automatic registration” means a system that registers an individual to vote in elections for Federal office in a State, if eligible, by electronically transferring the information necessary for registration from government agencies to election officials of the State so that, unless the individual affirmatively declines to be registered, the individual will be registered to vote

If you think Motor Voter has caused problems, just consider the dangers of automatic voter registration, especially with HR 1’s buried requirement that it be done via electronic transfer of data. How fast can one computer send bogus data to another data? All that and no paper trail of the voter registration as they are processed? Section 1012 is seriously bad for honest elections.

Section 1031 of HR 1 would force the states to implement same-day voter registration. Most states have traditionally implemented a deadline for registrations of new voters, typically about a month prior to an election, in order to give election officials enough time to properly process the applications and be certain they are genuine. This important election integrity measure would be tossed out the window if HR 1 passes.

Section 1201 of HR 1 would prohibit voter caging. The term “voter caging” sounds like like a horrible act of torture, but what the bill says is:

‘(1) the term ‘voter caging document’ means—

“(A) a nonforwardable document that is

returned to the sender or a third party as unde-

livered or undeliverable despite an attempt to

deliver such document to the address of a reg-

istered voter or applicant; or

“(B) any document with instructions to an

addressee that the document be returned to the

sender or a third party but is not so returned,

despite an attempt to deliver such document to

the address of a registered voter or applicant,

unless at least two Federal election cycles have

passed since the date of the attempted delivery;

This provision in HR 1 would greatly reduce verification of voter registration lists. This is something done with voters every two years in Texas when voter cards, which are good for two years, are sent to the voters and those that are undeliverable are returned to the county elections office. As bad as Section 1201 is, it could be easily amended to make any form of voter registration verification illegal and that would be even worse.

Section 4201 is entitled “The Honest Ads Act.” While few would argue against the concept of honesty in political advertisements, monitoring ads is not allowed as a function of the federal government. This section of the bill is short on details and probably marks just the beginning of what could be greatly expanded into an unconstitutional federal ministry of truth in political advertising that would rival Germany’s Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda.

The Wisdom of Alexander Hamilton

This bill, which would essentially accomplish a federal takeover of elections in this country, is quietly moving forward in Congress and public awareness needs to be raised that such a dangerous bill is in Congress and that it needs to be defeated in the Senate. Alexander Hamilton put it best when he said as previously quoted in this article:

Suppose an article had been introduced into the Congress empowering the United States to regulate the elections for the particular States, would any man have hesitated to condemn it, both as an unwarrantable transposition of power and as a premeditated engine for the destruction of the State governments?

He was talking about bills such as HR 1.

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J. B. Calder
J. B. Calder
4 years ago

Thank you for this explanation. It is spot on!

bOB
bOB
4 years ago

THE WHOLE 2 PARTY SYSTEM IS CORRUPT–FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO THE LOWEST LEVEL.
WASHINGTON NEEDS A TOTAL 100% CLEANZING TO BRING THE COUNTRY BACK.
THE ONLY WAY IT WILL HAPPEN IS WITH ANOTHER REVOLUTION, OTHERWISE ITS JUST A
WASTE OF TIME AND WORDS.

chaly
chaly
4 years ago

The only way to get these liberal communists out of office is term limits. I understand some of the negatives but the commies have us backed in a corner here. Two 3 year terms and out would be better than shooting!

Karen Johnston
Karen Johnston
4 years ago

It’s clear if Democrats can’t win elections by playing by the rules, they change to new rules to suit their liberal ideas. We don’t need prisoners voting, 18 year olds voting,
illegal voters, no picture IDs, baby deaths after live births, etc. etc. I think these kinds of things will win more and more voters over to the ‘conservative’ side day by day.
All these would be bad changes – let’s smarten up and vote for what’s right and what has worked in the past.

Michael Dargon
Michael Dargon
4 years ago

2 things need to be done! Pray for eyes of the American people to be opened as to what the true purpose of these socialists is, AND stand together as ONE NATION UNDER GOD!!!

Pat R
Pat R
4 years ago

Anything in the MSM about this? Doubt it. The Senate still has a GOP majority, but with all the RINOs, it’d hard to know anymore how they will vote. It is obvious the Dems are doing all they can think of to make sure a Republican never wins an election again. My thought is, their rhetoric has been that it’s already in the bag, so why are they seeming to be running scared that it won’t happen. They do play word games (another way of saying they lie to sway public opinion and get conservatives to believe it’s already a lost cause).

Susan Smythe
Susan Smythe
4 years ago

The electoral college was put in place by our founding fathers to avoid exactly the situation in front of us—the takeover and socialization of America. Every time the democrats (like spoiled children) don’t get their way, they seek a loophole (or create one) to try and win via cheating—just like a spoiled, whiny child who’s been given everything without working for it—just like all of the Hollywood brats who live off their parent’s name and successes; they want it all, think they know it all, and are worthless human beings who think the world revolves around them—just like their parents.

Diana
Diana
4 years ago

Senate better throw in out in the garbage where it belongs another abuse these corrupt politicians keep this garbage up they are Treasonist and need held accountable anyone in anyway trying to Distort, Change, Munipulate, the Law of the Land Our CONSTITUTION as WRITTEN, our Freedoms, Rights, is a Traitor to America and the American People they must be prosecuted.

Mike
Mike
4 years ago

This is yet another way to have the illegal aliens vote. Democrats will do anything to get the illegals to vote and to open the borders and allow them to invade the country.

Ruth M
Ruth M
4 years ago

Why are Republicans so silent about this? Are there enough of them who also want to take away the people’s rights and have us ruled rather than represented?

Julie
Julie
4 years ago

Unfortunately Michigan just passed a bill like this to amend our state constitution at the midterm elections. They also passed a bill to “end gerrymandering “ that will have 4 commissioners from each major part and 5 “unaffiliated “ commissioners to redraw districts. I fear Michigan is lost.

Donald Mccormick
Donald Mccormick
4 years ago

A POPULAR vote just does NOT let the small states get a chance to be able to vote because the large states would just tell those small states what they wanted to happen when they vote.

The Electoral college would give ALL voters an equal an almost chance to give a popular candidate a chance to become being voted in because the candidate would have to campaign in ALL states and NOT just the large population states

Bernard Broderick
Bernard Broderick
4 years ago

Look only to the 10th Amendment. The determination of voting requirements was neither specifically granted to the federal government, nor was it specifically prohibited by state governments, which is why there has been a constitutional amendment every time voting specifications have been taken away from the states (I.e. 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th). If the federal government wants to dictate further who may or may not vote in this country, or the process by which the vote is accomplished, pass an amendment and get it ratified by the requisite 3/4 of the states.

Jeffrey Cantelope
Jeffrey Cantelope
4 years ago

Progressives have over 110 years slowly undermined the constitution and the pillars of culture in our country. That has allowed them to make this aggressive move to create a one party system for elections that will guarantee that they will never lose power again and will allow them to create a democratic socialist national government and bury Federalism once and for all.

King
King
4 years ago

This is just another attempt by the democrats to capitalize on their give away policies to buy votes.

Deborah Crouch
Deborah Crouch
4 years ago

Elections should not be regulated by Congress. Congress cannot even act responsible or effeciently in its day to day operations. For the people and by the people has been long forgotten.

Martin
Martin
4 years ago

If the Electoral College is abolished we will cease to have the Republic that our for-Fathers gave us. And the answer that Benjamin Franklin gave when he was asked about what kind of a government they gave us .

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

  “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Debbie Johnson
Debbie Johnson
4 years ago

I find that because of the moral decay in our country it appears that it is becoming easier and easier to trick and fool Americans into foolish laws that will eliminate our county. Wake up America!!!!

SEG
SEG
4 years ago

Kill this Commie takeover of state & citizens rights !!!!!!

Bob
Bob
4 years ago

Socialist politicians will continue to grab for power every way they can. We need to vote them out of power and enact term limits. Wake up America!

Elizabeth 'b Smith
Elizabeth 'b Smith
4 years ago

the federal government should not take over the general elections

Dolores Adams
Dolores Adams
4 years ago

I sure hope the American people are getting tired of the way the liberals and demon rats are doing. The new ones elected (which shouldn’t have been) like AOC and her socialist ideas are absolutely no good. It would be the ruination of our country. We finally have a great president who is doing very well getting our country back on track and these people will tear it down if their plan is implemented. I pray all of the American people will see through this and not vote for them again. AOC evidently has not paid attention to the way things are going in Venezuela. People are eating out of garbage cans. And the streets of San Francisco has feces all over and needles from drugs. I was in San Fransisco many years ago and it was clean and nice then. Things have sure changed since then.

Diane
Diane
4 years ago

I’ve talked to people about this and they are clueless about what the E. College does. In fact, they have been told that it is an unfair way to take away their vote.

Concerned
Concerned
4 years ago

I say “NO” to HR 1, but I am only one vote, one honest vote. We need to keep it that way. Voting should be considered a privilege for citizens, not mandatory for anyone. If a citizen fails to register as appropriate and in the time frame specified in their state, they can not vote. All voter applications must be verified, at least once, initially to insure that only citizens get registered. How simple this would be, time consuming for sure, but is not our election system special enough to warrant some extra work? Again I say “NO” to HR 1.

Dennis Matt
Dennis Matt
4 years ago

Yep, the Demotards can’t win traditionally as they have NO PLATFORM, NO IDEAS…….so what do they have to do that is within their skill set when it comes to elections? CHEAT!

Don W
Don W
4 years ago

Obviously we must keep the Electoral College. Without it, 3 or 4 states could control the entire country. Of course that is what the left wants. The only change that I would like to see, is the “winner take all” procedure be changed to the electors being selected by Congressional District, with 2 Electors being elected statewide. This would protect the “voice of the minority”.

dino
dino
4 years ago

If the democ rats are involved they are doing this ONLY for votes and power and the”H”with whats good for AMERICA.

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

They called Donald Trump a Facists.
Tampering with athe Elections, is Un-Constitutional. This display of Socialist
As

Jack Thomas
Jack Thomas
4 years ago

The price of freedom isn’t cheap, and trying to win it back once it’s been taken away is even more expensive. HR1 is a prescription for further abuse of federal power. The devil is in the details, as they say, but federal control over our national elections under the provisions of this bill is an affront to every American who values liberty … including our constitutional right to vote in free elections. Call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and tell him that HR1 must never see the light of day and must be soundly defeated.

Thomas H
Thomas H
4 years ago

Sarbanes is my U.S. Representative (d – MD). In a recent newsletter, he stated that a primary aim of his voting act was to stop the “purging of voter rolls” as which happened in Ohio and other states. Judicial Watch has successfully sued to have Ohio and other U.S, States clean their voting rolls because of over 100% of eligible voters voting in certain counties. One of the three counties in Sarbanes’ district (Montgomery) has well over 100% of eligible voters voting. Coincidence? He has finally replied to my several attempts to reach him for him to clarify what he meant, and he stated that “voting roll purges” meant “voter caging” which this article above proves to be a load of bull. This is the same Rep who stated that a wall is not needed and inferred that the violent demonstrations by the left against Trump’s election were actually Trump’s fault. Btw, the voters here LOVE him!

rich
rich
4 years ago

The Dumbacrats are so desperate, They have nothing to offer, so they try to take over all rights, and they personally hate the President. It’s nothing more than pride and power trips. And Nancy and Chuckie need to go away.

GolfHoncho
GolfHoncho
4 years ago

All you need to do is consider the source. This “bill” is not constitutional, democratic, or republican. It is an affront to our Constitutional Republic and Founding Fathers.

James Stansbury
James Stansbury
4 years ago

Just in time for the 2018 midterm elections, the California legislature legalized a vote-harvesting scheme and much more. The rules changes worked so well that on election night, GOP shoe-in seats in the few remaining solidly Republican areas like Orange County evaporated. Per Townhall, anyone can “walk into an elections office and hand over truckloads of vote-by-mail envelopes with ballots inside no questions asked, no verified records kept.” Democrat operatives cased nursing homes, low-income neighborhoods, illegal alien work sites, etc. to “help” people vote or to pick up and deliver their ballots. California’s newly relaxed voting laws enabled cheating on an industrial scale that will perpetuate Democrat control.

Seeing California’s success, the new majority-Dem U.S. House of Representatives went the state one better and, on March 8, passed H.R. 1, a near copycat “For the People Act,” by a party-line 234-193 vote. Like California’s new rules, this seemingly virtuous bill would force early voting, automatic voter registration, same-day registration, online voter registration, and no-fault absentee balloting in all 50 states and similarly skew national election results heavily toward Democrats.

It may not pass the current Senate, but this bill clearly reveals which party is pursuing absolute power by any means necessary while disingenuously claiming the moral high ground. Hint — it’s not the GOP or even Russia.

ahem tonto
ahem tonto
4 years ago

Egregious politicos are always involved in surreptitious deeds.

Greg Russell
Greg Russell
4 years ago

“All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.” Marbury vs. Madison 5 US (2 Cranch) 137, 174, 176, (1803)

From the Declaration of Independence: That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Wayne D Peterkin
Wayne D Peterkin
4 years ago

HR1 is scary and must be defeated in the Senate or vetoed. At a time when election integrity is being questioned, when so many ineligible votes are cast, some liberal enclaves are working to permit non-citizens to vote (were they permitted in a state it becomes very difficult to prevent them from doing so in a federal election), when precincts see more people voting than are registered, and all the other questionable election shenanigans, HR1 now attempts to codify them into law. We are moving to third-world status when our elections cannot be trusted. I for one will write my senators demanding they oppose HR1 although I’m pretty certain they will anyway.

R Jeannotte
R Jeannotte
4 years ago

Another attempt by the democrats to seize control of the govt. They can’t win on their own merits. their policies are not democratic. They rule the largest cities, but not the country. they said “resist” in 2017. I say resist always. We have the closest thing to a real Democratic/Republic that the world has ever seen. Let’s try to keep it.

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

The slow changing of rules, shifting power away from “We The People” to goverment, reminds me of the slow shifting of power in Europe until only one person in Germany decided everything for everyone else.

xyz
xyz
4 years ago

I agree. Defeat the bill.

OldSilk
OldSilk
4 years ago

The left can’t get votes, so they have to get illegal votes from people like themselves who don’t know their scams and will be enslaved soon enough. They are playing their usual Constitutional work around game. When the country collapses they will go down as well; they just don’t believe it yet.

Big Al
Big Al
4 years ago

Sedition under any other guise is still sedition

Rick
Rick
4 years ago

There seems to be no end to the assaults the democraps will launch on the constitution.
The only goal they have is to regain power. After they regain power they will again alter the system
in order to retain power and eliminate all competition. Thus soviet style one party rule.
Welcome to the one world order of global socialism.

Wingleader69
Wingleader69
4 years ago

Another bullet in the magazine for the coming civil war that the dems keep saying they want.

Pearl
Pearl
4 years ago

God help us and save us if this comes to fruition. The Dem Pols are a bunch of hoodlums who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

MariaRose
MariaRose
4 years ago

Being a resident of the ultra-blue liberal New York State, I question highly the same day registration/ vote idea, because it eliminates the vetting system and will lead to fraud voting. As of January 1, 2019, NY has combined all primaries to one date in June and has established 9 early voting days prior to the November 5, 2019 election, to compensate for the complaint that the single day of voting doesn’t allow enough time for all voters who don’t get time off to vote. I personally think that some of our younger voters don’t like to be forced to change their social activity to do their civic duty of voting, which explains why they are pushing for voting via the internet but until that can be free from hacking, I doubt that will become a reality. I heard it has been proven that using a paper ballot which is electronically read and that information is stored on both a computer chip and on the actual paper ballot has been the safest method. Unfortunately, not all voting areas use these machines, which they should, again that a local district problem due to the cost of changing to those machines. Again the younger voters are not used to using paper for anything, in fact, they have a problem signing their own name in script, which is something you do to fill out a voter registration form and that signature is the way the poll workers identify the voter since “asking for ID” is considered “invasion of privacy”. Whoever thought that rule has never dealt with trying to read an illegible script and match it to a verbal response you barely understand. If you are a registered active voter, you should get a postcard yearly with your name, address, etc., clearly printed on it. Too many people think that registering to vote is all you need to do and you can vote anywhere whenever you feel like, despite the fact, you have moved in location and don’t actively vote at least every two years, despite your “so-called” political verbal views.
As to the dangerous trend in Congress, (shame on Nancy Pelosi for allowing this just to be Speaker of the House) to allow the radical newcomers to rule the roost just to look popular. Popular doesn’t always create good results, as it eliminates constructive thinking.

Mike
Mike
4 years ago

It’s time to declare the Democrats as domestic terrorists and anyone that is supporting or boats for this stupid ass excuse for a bill should be arrested tried for treason and executed immediately

Louise Lasiter
Louise Lasiter
4 years ago

The liberals will go to any length they can for the win leave it written like it was long long ago THEY ARE SICK PEOPLE !!!!

des
des
4 years ago

dumborats will do anything to take over America to the point of destroying America all for power

Lloyd1954
Lloyd1954
4 years ago

Progressives are trying to make the country vassals of California and New York. As both of those states are completely broken, why would anyone let that happen?

Kris Hauser
Kris Hauser
4 years ago

Thank you for sharing this enlightening article.

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