Opinion: D.C. Democrats seek to weaponize election processes

After the 2020 election, it’s no secret that reforms are on the minds of Georgians. Without question, free and fair elections are the foundation of our democracy, and the security of our electoral system is vital to preserving its integrity. We should no longer accept the false choice between voter access and voter integrity. We should demand and achieve both.

Unfortunately, rather than protecting legitimate votes, Congressional Democrats are weaponizing our election process with the same tired and overreaching legislation they attempted to pass two years ago.

04/05/2019 -- Newnan, Georgia -- Georgia  U.S. Congressmen A. Drew Ferguson (left) and Barry Loudermilk (center) speaks amongst themselves as they stand at the entrance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Detector Dog Training Facility in Newnan, Friday, April 5, 2019. The congressmen were touring the facility with United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

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Credit: Alyssa Pointer

H.R. 1, dubbed the “For the People Act” by the majority party, is a dangerously partisan package designed to do nothing more than keep progressives in power – by any means necessary. While Republicans at every level of government are working to bolster our electoral systems to prevent voter fraud and ensure election integrity, Democrats are working to expand and codify existing loopholes to exploit it.

During the most recent cycle, as states rushed to adapt to new and unexpected demands during the pandemic, many forms of voting were expanded without proper safeguards in place to protect ballot integrity – creating chaos, increasing irregularities, and undermining public trust in the election process.

Under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, many of these changes would become permanent, without addressing the underlying problems. The bill fails to implement basic checks and balances to protect voter registration while forcing states to expand online voter registration, automatic voter registration, and same-day voter registration – all of which are fundamentally vulnerable to fraud – without criminalizing fraudulent voter registration. These are not the actions of a party concerned with maintaining the integrity of our elections.

This bill equates to a complete and total nationalization of our elections, which directly and blatantly oversteps the precedent laid out by our Constitution. Through this bill, states would no longer have the right to determine for themselves what registration and voting practices make the most sense, where district lines should be, and how to run their own elections. This is just plain wrong.

We don’t need more D.C. Democrats deciding for Georgia what works best for us. The Georgia State Legislature is hard at work this session to address the flaws in the system, and no one knows the specific and individual voting needs of communities and counties better than communities and counties.

Even worse, this package contains multiple concerning actions to limit the free speech and First Amendment rights of every American. By forming a “Speech Czar” and removing a member from the Federal Election Commission, Democrats are committed to creating a polarizing and partisan commission to steamroll the rights of those who may disagree with them.

Furthermore, the bill’s vague standards undermine all groups that advocate on behalf of legislative issues, limiting their ability to publicly fight for their values and beliefs.

As the ultimate kicker, the “For the People Act” would publicly fund campaigns. There would be a 6:1 match by the federal government using money belonging to taxpayers. This money would be used to run campaign ads against your candidate – no matter what side of the political spectrum you are. Georgia taxpayers would be helping to fund a campaign in New York. I’ve never heard anyone say that the problem with politics is that there is not enough money in the system.

Every American voice deserves to be heard, and every legitimate vote deserves to be counted. It’s clear that Democrats wrote this bill to serve Democrat needs – not the best interests of our country or to secure the ballot box. Opposing H.R. 1 means upholding the basic integrity of our elections, and I am committed to protecting this foundational freedom.

U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point.