Jason Chaffetz: Democrats claim they want election security – They really want to secure election victories

In the wake of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller confirming Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election, we are enjoying broad bipartisan consensus on the need to improve election security.

But instead of capitalizing on this national consensus to guard against future election interference, House Democrats are leveraging that consensus to facilitate a massive power grab. They are cynically using the fear of Russian interference as a pretext to pass legislation designed to help Democrats win elections.

The Democratic legislation is H.R. 1 – the For the People Act. It is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s signature bill of the 116th Congress.

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What Pelosi, D-Calif., and her fellow Democrats are calling an election security bill is actually a bid to seize control of local elections, prohibit measures that prevent voter fraud, and compel the use of ballot handling procedures that are easily manipulated. It's all one big power grab.

Democrats are obviously banking on the idea that most Americans have not read H.R. 1, which they and their allies market as an election security bill, but which reduces our ability to detect and deter fraud.

The notion that this bill will do anything to deter the Russians, other foreign powers, or even the guy in a van down by the river from messing with our elections is laughable. The bill is little more than an open invitation for election interference.

The number of suspect provisions in the legislation is too large to fully discuss here, but let's look at a few examples.

Under the provisions of H.R. 1, all jurisdictions are compelled to use no-fault absentee ballots, which can be conveniently filled out and submitted from home. While convenient, they are hardly secure. They have given rise to a practice called ballot harvesting, in which activists track down voters, "help" them fill out their ballots, and then offer to submit them.

What Pelosi, D-Calif., and her fellow Democrats are calling an election security bill is actually a bid to seize control of local elections, prohibit measures that prevent voter fraud, and compel the use of ballot handling procedures that are easily manipulated. It's all one big power grab.

The breakdown in the chain of custody for such ballots enabled a North Carolina campaign operative to "lose" hundreds of ballots in the 2018 midterm elections. The same practice, which was illegal in North Carolina, is now legal in California, where late ballots submitted by harvesters broke inexplicably for Democrats and reversed election night outcomes.

How can the nationwide imposition of no-fault absentee ballots possibly be construed as an election security measure? Given the proven willingness of the Russian government to meddle in our elections, is it beyond the realm of possibility that those activists coming to collect your ballot could be paid by a foreign power?

Another provision essentially nullifies voter identification (ID) laws, which Democrats believe depress Democratic turnout in elections. If H.R. 1 becomes law, voters could bypass the ID requirement by simply signing a statement affirming that they are who they claim to be.

Once again, this provision has absolutely no relevance to election security. In fact, it makes elections less secure.

The bypassing of voter ID laws becomes even more concerning when you read what Democrats want to do about voter list maintenance. Their solution to outdated voter rolls is to prohibit states from comparing their voter rolls to the National Change of Address Database or to the databases of other states.

With this provision, voter identities used to vote in multiple states are less likely to be exposed. Now foreign powers could exploit our elections by simply getting people to use voter IDs that are valid in one state to vote in other states.

These provisions are just the tip of the iceberg. Suffice it to say that many, if not most, of the provisions in H.R. 1 are not designed to make elections more secure. They are designed to secure more election victories for Democratic candidates.

Compelling states to accept votes from convicted and even currently imprisoned felons does nothing to dissuade Russia from interfering. But given that most studies show felons vote for Democrats somewhere between 70 and 90 percent of the time, this provision does a great deal to help Democrats secure more power.

Senate Republicans, fortunately for America, are not fooled. H.R. 1 is dead on arrival in the Senate after passing the House on a pure party-line vote in March.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., challenges Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to "put election security on the floor." But there really is no such bill, because the House bill is designed to make elections less secure.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and FBI Director Christopher Wray have both indicated that they anticipate Russia is not finished trying to interfere in U.S. elections.

Our best path forward is a decentralized analog voting system that thwarts hackers and would-be fraudsters, preventing them from finding a way to exploit a single nationwide electronic system.

Voter ID laws, ballot security measures, and voter list maintenance are all important components of keeping our elections secure. All of these measures are best performed by state and local officials, not by politicians in Washington looking to stack the deck in favor of one political party.

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