Published March 4, 2021
House Democrats passed H.R.1, the ostentatiously and misleadingly named For the People Act, Wednesday night on a near-party-line vote. The Senate should reject this dangerous assault on election integrity.
The bill’s primary danger lies in its virtual abolition of any safeguards to ensure that a vote represents the true desire of a single, eligible voter. States would be effectively barred from mandating the use of a photo-ID to establish that a person is the registered voter they claim to be, instead permitting a prospective voter to merely sign a sworn affidavit. States would also be required to adopt same-day voter registration in federal elections, even during early voting, so that a person could show up at a poll, sign a registration form and cast a vote without any checks to ensure the person was actually eligible to vote. Together, these provisions would make it extremely easy for a motivated individual or group to move from poll to poll and cast a number of fraudulent ballots without any reasonable fear they would be caught.
The bill also cavalierly opens the door to voting fraud in its treatment of mail balloting. It would expressly permit a person to collect mail ballots and deliver them to the relevant election agency. It purports to limit this to already sealed ballots, but of course it would be almost impossible to prove a ballot was sealed when it was handed off. The most recent proved instance of mass voter fraud involved exactly this procedure, when a Republican operative cast fraudulent votes for candidates who paid him by collecting unsealed mail ballots from voters and then filling them out for the preferred person. H.R.1 would make it much likelier that unscrupulous operatives of both parties could try to use this scheme to tip the scales in their favor.
Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.