Austin and Washington, D.C., March 23 – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a letter warning United States House and Senate leaders of Constitutional deficiencies within H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021, which unfortunately passed the House recently on a 220 to 210 party-line vote. Under both the Elections Clause of Article I of the Constitution and the Electors Clause of Article II, states have principal responsibility to safeguard elections. The Act would invert that structure, commandeer state resources, muddle election procedure, and erode faith in our elections.
“This Act fails to live up to its name. It does not empower the people; it places them and their local leaders directly under the thumb of the federal government. Our Founding Fathers intentionally excluded Congress and gave state legislatures the authority to run state elections. Instead, this Act flips the Constitutional script and empowers the federal government to act as the election regulator for states,” said Attorney General Paxton. “The Act opens elections in every state to widespread fraud, mixed messaging, Constitutional violations, and shuttering of speech. Should it become law, I will use every possible resource to protect our elections, state sovereignty, and the rights of all Texans.”
Despite the Supreme Court’s admonition that the “Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the State’s officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program,” the Act blatantly interferes in state election processes. Provisions in the Act detrimental to our Constitutional order and election security include federal commandeering of election regulation, mandating mail-in voting, requiring states to accept late ballots, overriding state voter identification laws, and mandating states conduct redistricting through unelected commissions.
The Act includes the following provisions, which would federalize elections and remove state authority over elections:
- Voter registration would be uniform nationally and made a function of the federal government;
- Voters could change their registration at the polls on Election Day;
- All elections would require at least 2 weeks of Early Voting;
- Automatic voter registration would occur for all individuals who submit applications to a state’s department of motor vehicles or other permitting offices;
- Voting by mail opportunities would expand;
- Election Day would be a national holiday; and
- The legislation would allow 16 year olds and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote in advance of their voter eligibility when they turn 18, among many other measures which would encourage left-leaning voters to go to the polls.
Passage of H.R. 1 in the United States Senate looks doubtful, as all 50 Republicans have indicated their opposition, while 2 Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona also oppose the measure.