Hans von Spakovsky, senior fellow and director of the election law reform initiative at the Heritage Foundation, told The Epoch Times in an inquiry that H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act of 2021, actually “voids all of the safety protocols and security measures and states have been put in place to protect the integrity of the election process.”
The bill passed the Democrat-controlled House on March 3 on a largely party-line vote of 220-210, with all Republicans voting against it as well as Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).
The Biden administration, which has heavily promoted the bill, hailed its passage, saying the bill is “urgently needed to protect the right to vote and the integrity of our elections and to repair and strengthen American democracy.”
Von Spakovsky, whose credentials include formerly serving as a Federal Election Commissioner, opposes. In a recent analysis, he called the measure a “threat to American democracy. Period.”
“H.R. 1 would usurp the role of the states, wipe out basic safety protocols, and mandate a set of rules that would severely damage the integrity of elections,” he stressed.
The contentious election reform package, which accumulates to nearly 800 pages, attempts to impose requirements on voting procedures across the entire country. Its terms include shifting authority over how elections are administered from states to the federal government, mandating automatic voter registration in all 50 states, and approving nationwide vote-by-mail without the requirement to give photo ID to obtain an absentee ballot.
“Many states have passed voter ID laws so that someone has to authenticate their identity when they show up to vote,” von Spakovsky told The Epoch Times. “This law would eviscerate state voter ID laws—they basically would not be able to enforce them,” he said.
Democrats have backed the bill as a significant step against voter suppression.
“Our democracy is in a state of deep disrepair,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after re-introducing the bill in January. “During the 2020 election, Americans had to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering and a torrent of special interest dark money just to exercise their right to vote.”
A prior version of H.R. 1 passed the Democrat-controlled House 234-193 at the start of the 116th Congress in 2019 but eventually did not get taken up in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Supporters of the bill, including left-leaning think tanks, have approved H.R. 1, with the Brennan Center for Justice calling it “America’s next great civil rights bill,” alleging “years of voter suppression efforts” under President Donald Trump.