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Guest Commentary

Guest Commentary: For the People Act of 2021 a wolf in sheep's clothing

  • 2 min to read

Only the naive will believe a title tells the whole story. The For the People Act of 2021 (“Act”), a several hundred-page document, is such an example. The Act is, in fact, an ideological and partisan document.

Formerly known as House Resolution (HR)1, Senate Bill 1 was skillfully crafted with to ensure that the federal government and the party in power dominates the electoral process. As such, the political landscape of the United States of America would be materially changed at the expense of individual and state’s rights granted by the Constitution.

Additional legislative measures to expand the Supreme Court; increase the number of states, which will increase congressional representatives in the Republic; and, provide a path to citizenship – and voting privileges -- by the foreign nationals allowed to illegally enter the country at the southern border.

Although the Senate recently failed to pass this legislation by a mere four votes, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to do “all in his power” to see the Act adopted into the law. President Biden refers to it as a “moral imperative” and has pledged to sign it into law when delivered to the White House.

These are some of the key provisions of the Act:

1. The Act takes away the state’s rights to conduct elections and grants it solely to the federal government

2. Promotes internet registration which limits verification of voter eligibility (Sections 1000A–1008)

3. Mandates automatic voter registration (AVR) in all 50 states and Same-Day registration by governmental entities without verification of eligibility (Section 1012)

4. Requires various state and social agencies, such as DMV and housing authorities, to facilitate voter registration, obviates voter eligibility at point of contact (Section 1013-1015, 1082)

5. Allows Same-Day registration and voting which that obviates verification of a voter identity and eligibility (Section 1031)

6. Conditions updating voter rolls, such as removing ineligible voters from registries or confirming the eligibility and qualifications of voters (Section 1041, 2502)

7. Allows states to promote minors to receive political information and register to vote through the school system and other social programs (Section 1054, 1091 -1094)

8. Ensures non-citizen voting by preventing challenges on Election Day and shields non-citizens from prosecution if automatically registered to vote. (Sections 1011, 1012, 1201, (c)(2))

9. Imposes arbitrary definitions and timeline that restricts freedom of speech regarding candidates for President, Vice President or members of Congress; imposes and financial penalties for “material breach” of this provision (Section 1302)

10. Mandates “no-fault” (no reason) absentee ballots and eliminates witness signatures or notary requirements, including curbside voting, requires states to provide absentee voter boxes prior to an election and accept absentee ballots 10 days after an election (Sections 1611, 1621, 1907, 1908)

11. Mandates nationwide Vote-By-Mail without photo ID and promotes Ballot Harvesting (Section 1621)

12. Establishes Election Day as another paid holiday (Section 1909)

13. Urges expanding statehood and representation for territories, such as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands (Section 1921, 2201, 2302)

14. Citizen’s civil remedies for aggrieved citizens are rigidly constructed (Section 2432)

15. Requires the formation of a congressional commission to form coalition districts and redraw lines; remove state’s rights, may not unilaterally redistrict (Section 2400 - 2415)

16. Incarcerated felons may vote and count to establish members of the House of Representatives (Section 2701)

17. Requires states to get approval from the federal government before changing voting rules and provides oversight of online political advertising (Section 4205, 4208)

18. Legislatively declares that a SCOTUS decision “misrepresented” the US Constitution (Section 5001, (2))

19. Allows politicians to use campaign funds for personal use, including child care (Sections 5100 - 5400, 9013)

20. Requires presidential candidates to provide tax returns and divest from financial interest that “may” create a conflict of interest (Section 8012, 10001)

21. Parts and Sections of the Act significantly alter existing laws and practices, including the Federal Elections Commission

There are those that will read the title, For the People Act of 2021, and accept the Act as a voting rights and humanitarian effort. However, it is abundantly clear from the various aforementioned provisions of the Act, this is an attempt to “legislatively” change the U.S. Constitution and reduce state and individual rights.

Should this Act be adopted into law it will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, before the mid-term elections. The Act, and other legislation as noted previously, is an attempt to consolidate the power of the federal government by expanding the scope, reach and size of this behemoth, a concept counter to the ideals of the Founding Fathers.

Enactment of the For the People Act of 2021 will strike a severe blow to democracy by diluting the integrity of voting in America. The Act can be characterized as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Rande Downer is a Santa Maria resident, retired chief business officer from our local public schools, and the owner of Carousel Consulting Company specializing in finance, operations and legislative review.

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