U.S. Capitol

There is an act moving through our United States Congress titled H.R.1, or the “For the People Act of 2021.” It is a very lengthy bill that has already passed the House of Representatives. I fear the title may be a misnomer. It appears this is an effort to drastically change our voting system and reduce states’ rights in managing their own elections.

We all have a responsibility to participate in our elections. It is up to us to make the minimal effort that is required to cast our votes every couple of years. Though meaningful requirements and regulations were put in place long ago to provide a level of security for the vote and an expectation of accuracy in the vote count, we realize we can do better.

Locally, in fact, our own Sen. Scott Newman has again spearheaded an effort to require a picture ID to vote in Minnesota. A very reasonable requirement, in light of the fact that an ID is commonly required in so many transactions in daily life. In fact, this bill allows several avenues for a person to prove their eligibility to vote, including a free ID from the state if they cannot afford one. It ensures no one would be disenfranchised while fortifying election security

Our local Reps. Glenn Gruenhagen and Dean Urdahl also sponsored this effort in the House. Yet their efforts are again being vehemently opposed by a Democrat majority in our government. Newman’s bill would better ensure only eligible voters vote. I cannot imagine why anyone would reject such a minimal requirement for something so important.

H.R. 1 proposes that we mandate nationwide all of the changes implemented in the hotly contested states just prior to the last election. It aims to increase both early voting and mail-in voting. H.R. 1 will take election decisions away from the states and mandate voting rules and procedures come from Washington, all under the guise of “fortifying our democracy.”

It is my opinion that having one election day made it special. It emphasized how important voting is and how fortunate we are. Much of H.R. 1 mandates that the states establish a system of voting online. I don’t believe attempts to remove every imaginable inconvenience in voting is better. I also think allowing weeks to vote is careless. And I believe mass mailing ballots all over the nation is asking for trouble.

In an April 10, 2020, commentary in the Wall Street Journal, John R. Lott Jr. quotes a report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by past President Jimmy Carter, which warned, "Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential fraud." Yet today’s goal of H.R. 1 is to double down on mail-in voting in all 50 states. And, when a March 17, 2021, Rasmussen poll suggests that support for voter ID in America has increased over the last few years to where 75% of voters now agree that an ID should be required (and that includes 60% of Democrats polled), it should cause us to question the motives behind H.R. 1.

Newly established countries around the world have come to us for advice, direction and monitoring when installing their new democratic voting systems. They saw ours as a shining example of how freedoms and liberties can be established and maintained. Would they do that now?

I am concerned for America. A more centralized government and a wide-open election process does not bode well for us. H.R. 1 fails to appreciate how the integrity and security of an American’s vote is the bedrock of this great nation.