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Lankford Opposes Democrats’ Fourth Attempt to Take Over Elections

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today opposed the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021,(also known as S.4). Lankford has been outspoken that Democrats’ attempt to federalize our elections comes with significantnegative consequences for our nation’s free and fair elections. The procedural vote to move forward to debate the bill failed by a vote of 50-49.  

“This is the same song and dance we’ve seen from Democrats since the beginning of this year,” said Lankford. “This is another attempt to federalize our elections, this time disguised as a voting rights bill. S.4 is a clear power grab that would give unelected bureaucrats in Washington, DC, the power to veto decisions made by our state legislature. Federal courts already have the authority to intervene if any state is hindering any voter. But, our state should not have to ask permission from Biden’s Department of Justice to add days for early voting, increase transparency, or audit our system. We should make it easy to vote, easy to verify, and absolutely impossible to cheat.”

Lankford opposes the bill because it:

  • Updates and restores strict preclearance requirements overturned by the Supreme Court in Shelby v. Holder so states have to play “mother, may?” I with the Department of Justice
  • Guts Section 2 of the voting rights act “guideposts” established by the Bronvich v. Democratic National Committee decision
  • Requires preclearance for specific types of voting procedures in jurisdictions (regardless of preclearance) that have a growing minority population
  • Settlements and consent decrees count as voting rights violations looking back 25 years, as opposed to only final judgements

In June, Lankford strongly opposed the “For the People Act.” Lankford sounded the alarm on Democrats’ so-called “For the People Act” as it was being sold to the American people as necessary to protect election integrity, but is actually a massive federal takeover of state elections. Lankford joined Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to introduce the Don’t Weaponize the IRS Act to prevent the IRS from being used as a political weapon against conservative nonprofits. S.1 would repeal and undermine a Trump Administration rule that prevented the IRS from targeting certain tax-exempt groups based on political beliefs.

Lankford and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) praised a letter from Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax regarding the dangers he sees posed by S.1 to Oklahoma’s free and fair election process. Lankford spoke on the Senate floor for a second time on the announcement that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) planned to bring S.1 to the floor. Lankford also wrote an opinion piece to Oklahomans that Democrats’ federal election takeover bill is not “For the People.