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Lankford: Democrats’ federal election takeover bill Is not ‘For the People’

By: Senator James Lankford

Senate Democrats are once again trying to push through their massive federal election takeover bill, S. 1/H.R. 1, the “For the People Act.” S. 1/H.R. 1 takes authority away from Oklahoma and gives Washington, DC, the power to manage and control our elections.

This D.C. power grab is a horrible idea, and I will vote against it. The Constitution is clear that states run elections.

It may surprise you to know that both the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union and the conservative Heritage Foundation have come out in opposition to S. 1/H.R. 1. It’s rare that those two groups are on the same page, but they both oppose this terrible bill.

S. 1/H.R. 1 guts voter ID laws, despite wide support for them across the country. The bill allows unlimited ballot harvesting, which makes it possible for political parties to collect ballots. S. 1/H.R. 1 mandates ballot drop boxes without any security protocols and restricts states’ ability to maintain accurate voter rolls.

Additionally, the bill lines the pockets of candidates with federal dollars by creating a six-to-one federal funding match for small donations of up to $200. This is welfare for politicians and millions of our hard-earned tax dollars for political candidates you do not support.

I remain firmly opposed to S. 1/ H.R. 1 and any legislation that takes elections out of the hands of Oklahomans. Oklahoma does a great job administering free and fair elections, where it is easy to vote and hard to cheat.

Recently, Sen. Inhofe and I received a letter from Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax. He shared his concerns with S. 1/H.R. 1 and his support for Oklahoma continuing to run our own elections. Secretary Ziriax is a credible and trusted election security professional who continues to ensure voting in Oklahoma is easy, fair, and secure. His policy concerns with S.1/H.R. 1 should not be dismissed by anyone interested in free and fair elections.

Oklahoma’s simple and straightforward election process uses paper ballot backups to ensure we can audit and have confidence in our election results. It’s not complicated. Our election results are usually available in the early evening hours of Election Day — not days or weeks later, and we can easily recount when needed. We require verified identification to vote or a notarized or witnessed signature for absentee ballots. A decentralized system where states run their elections as they deem best is actually a good thing. It’s what makes our election system strong and secure.

People forget sometimes that the Russians tried to hack into Oklahoma’s election system in 2016, but they were unable to get in.

Don’t let the feel-good name of this bill fool you. We all should want to make legal voting easy, but this bill does the opposite. S. 1/H.R. 1 make it easy to vote, easy to cheat, and impossible to verify any election.