The Democrats’ bill does not focus on the real election threats—the corruption of the counting of the ballots, the certification of elections, and the Congressional provisions for accepting and counting a slate of electors
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today spoke on the Senate floor about Democrats’ attempts at a partisan takeover of our federal elections. A transcript of his speech can be found below and video can be found here.
Given the interest in the priority and the importance of elections, it would have been helpful, prior to preparing this legislation for a vote, for those that were the drafters of this legislation actually invited a Republican—any Republican—to sit down and perhaps negotiate and see if we could find some common ground. But instead, the Democrat leadership dusted off what they had written before on an entirely partisan basis, and then are shocked—shocked—that Republicans don’t want to support what they drafted.
Now I’d note that political overstatement and hyperbole may be relatively common and they are often excused, but the President and some of my Democratic colleagues have ventured deep into hysteria. Their cataclysmic predictions for failing to support their entirely partisan election reform—worked out entirely by themselves without any input whatsoever from any single person on my side of the aisle—are far beyond the pale.
They are entirely right to call out Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about the last election being stolen. But in the same spirit of honesty, they should not engage in a similar lie that Republicans across the country are making it much harder for minorities to vote, and thus that the federal government must urgently displace centuries of constitutional practice that gives states primary control over elections. So dire are the consequences, they claim, that this must be done by shredding the rules of our senior legislative body.
They point to Georgia as evidence of political election villainy. The President went there to deliver his crowning argument. But as has been pointed out by many before me, it is easier for minorities—and everyone else for that matter—to vote in Georgia than it is the President’s home state of Delaware and in Leader Schumer’s home state of New York. In Georgia, there are more days of early voting, and in Georgia there is no-excuse absentee voting, by mail.
They do decry Georgia’s prohibition of political activists approaching voters in line with drinks of water. But the same prohibition exists in New York. And why? So that voters don’t get harassed in line by poll activists. Just like Georgia and New York, many states keep poll activists at length from voters.
My Democrat colleagues conveniently ignore the fact that the 1965 Voting Rights Act prohibition of any voting practice or procedure that discriminates against minorities is still in effect. Even today, the Justice Department is suing two states under that law. Protection of minority voting is already required by law. Protection of minority voting is a high and essential priority for me and for my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
To be clear, I want an election system that allows every eligible citizen in every state to be able to exercise their right to vote in every single election.
So putting aside the hysteria, let me explain why I don’t support the Democrats’ bill.
First, their bill weakens voter ID. I, along with the great majority of voters of all races, favor voter photo ID.
Their bill makes it easier to cheat by accommodating unmonitored vote collection boxes.
Their bill opens the gates to a flood of lawsuits, pre-and-post an election.
And it weakens the safeguards of voter registration.
There are other things in the Democrats’ bill that I don’t support:
I’m not in favor of federal funding for campaigns.
I also don’t think that states should be required to allow felons to vote.
And most fundamentally, I think by reserving election procedures to the states, the Founders made it more difficult for a would-be authoritarian to change the law for voting in just one place—here in Washington—to keep himself in office.
Let me add that I think the Democrats’ bill is insufficiently focused on the real threat—and that is the corruption of the counting of the ballots, the certification of elections, and the Congressional provisions for accepting and counting a slate of electors. This is where the apparent conspirators were focused in their attempt in the last election to subvert democracy and prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
Now, I respect Democrats who disagree with my point of view. I hope they will offer me the same respect.
People who want voter ID are not racists.
People who don’t want federal funding of campaigns aren’t Bull Connor.
And people who insist that vote drop boxes be monitored aren’t Jefferson Davis.