GOP-Led Legislature Moves to Counter Federal Voting Law

Sen. Raphael Warnock [D-GA] seen with Rev. Barber
Sen. Raphael Warnock [D-GA] seen with Rev. Barber

By Cash Michaels

March 29, 2021 12:50PM
Cash Michaels
Cash Michaels

If passed by the Democrat-led U.S. Congress, H. R. 1 (also known as the “For the People Act”) will allow no-excuse mail-in voting, automatic voter registration, and mandate at least 15-days of early voting.

"Since the January election, some 250 voter suppression bills have been introduced by state legislatures all across the country from Georgia to Arizona, from New Hampshire to Florida, using the big lie of voter fraud as a pretext for voter suppression,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock [D-GA] during his first speech on the Senate floor since being elected, endorsing H. R. 1, which has been passed in the U.S. House.

It would also counter most of the so-called “election integrity” measures Sen. Warnock referenced, being passed by a plethora of Republican-led state legislatures across the country, measures, critics say, that target Black, young, and other voters who are not likely to choose the Republican Party in future elections to come.

“It is the single most dangerous piece of legislation before Congress, “Sen. Ted Cruz [R-TX] told Fox News recently. “What I call …the corrupt politicians act.”

“If Democrats pass H.R. 1, it’s going to be absolutely devastating for Republicans in this country,” a Georgia Republican strategist recently told ABC News.

Apparently, North Carolina’s legislative Republicans got the memo, because beyond the one “election integrity” bill they’ve filed this session so far (more are expected), this week they’ve also filed House Joint Resolution 330 - “expressing North Carolina’s opposition to any federal action infringing upon the state’s constitutional authority to manage, control and administer elections.”

The joint resolution goes on to state that the U.S. Constitution “vests power in the states” to employ their own election law, and that the federal government does not “delegate” that power.

The proposed resolution then calls out H.R. 1, “…a bill introduced in the United States Congress [that] would obliterate the constitutional arrangement between states and the government of the United States by usurping the constitution power of states [to control elections] by prohibiting various practices and mandating others such as forcing state to conduct an election over an extended period of time, prohibiting states from maintaining voter rolls free from error and obsolete information, and forcing states to accept an elector who does not register to vote in advance, mandates related to mail voting, prohibitions against regulating ballot harvesting, and scores of other intrusions into the power of state to [control]…their elections….”

Section 1 of the joint resolution then makes it clear that H. R. 1 is not welcomed in North Carolina.

“The members of the North Carolina General Assembly oppose any attempt by the federal government to usurp, or otherwise interfere with the State’s legislative sovereign authority over the [control] of elections.”

House Joint Resolution 330 has lots of bark, but legally has little bite, which is Republicans are so desperate to stop it. As in years past, the federal government does have the right to protect the voting rights of all U.S. citizens, especially if it sees a history of violations on the part of states in the past.

Given North Carolina’s notorious past of federal court decisions decrying its discriminatory voter ID and unconstitutional redistricting policies, it is no surprise that H. R. 1, if it becomes law, would not be welcomed by Republicans here.

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