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Lewis Morris / August 26, 2021

HR 4: Democrat Voting Wrongs

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a leftist power grab.

For Democrats, if at first you don’t succeed in passing a law that will rob citizens of their voting rights, try, try again. That’s what they did this week when the House passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act by a slim party-line vote of 219-212.

This voting bill, also known as HR 4, is the evil cousin of HR 1, the so-called For the People Act. HR 1 was the crown jewel of the Left’s 2021 legislative agenda, designed to federalize all state and local voting laws in the name of “protecting” Americans against voter fraud. It would do just the opposite. HR 1 was nothing short of an attempt to seize total control of the electoral system, strip voters of their constitutional rights, and set the stage for a permanent and illegally installed leftist electoral majority. Thankfully, HR 1 died a quiet death.

Unfortunately, HR 4 is still very much with us.

HR 4 is stripped of most of the provisions that make up HR 1, but it seeks the same result of federalizing state and local election law by resurrecting preclearance, a federal review of voting laws in historically racist jurisdictions. The preclearance provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013. In Shelby County v. Holder, the Court ruled that while preclearance may have been necessary in the past, it served no current purpose and violated equal sovereignty among the states.

There was simply no cause to keep preclearance in place. In 1965, black voter registration in Mississippi was 6.4%, but in 2004 it was 76.1%, greater than among whites. Black voter turnout in Mississippi in 2020 was 73%. Minority voter turnout was up across the country in 2020, a year in which multiple voter turnout records were broken and Democrats assured us that there was no voter fraud.

If what Democrats say about the 2020 election is true (and it’s not), then why turn the Supreme Court’s election jurisprudence on its head? Because with preclearance, HR 4 gives the power to run elections across the country to unaccountable bureaucrats who will be able to investigate and arbitrarily reverse whatever election law they so choose.

HR 4 claims that any local jurisdiction that racks up 15 voting rights violations in 25 years or any state that tallies 10 voting rights violations in the same time frame would be subject to preclearance. For how long? Who can say? What are the parameters of those violations? Again, it’s arbitrary. Depending on the jurisdiction, there could be a surplus of litigious plaintiffs or receptive courts, which is to say some districts may be targeted for voting laws that don’t necessarily comport with certain ideological standards. Furthermore, HR 4 is designed to automatically trigger a preclearance federal review of any state voting ID law. Yes, any of the 50 states.

The potential for abuse with HR 4 is not only ripe, it is assured. Federal law already has a muscular response to voter fraud in place. Democrats want to tip the scales in their favor so they can enforce as law their belief that voter fraud only exists if a Republican wins election.

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