20 Republican AGs Point to ‘Constitutional Deficiencies’ in Democrats’ Election Overhaul Bill

March 3, 2021 Updated: March 4, 2021

A group of 20 Republican attorneys general signed a letter on March 3 calling on the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate to consider a number of Constitutional flaws in the major election overhaul bill being pushed by Democrats.

The letter, sent by Indiana Attorney general Todd Rokita, points to several potential legal flaws in the For the People Act of 2021, a top legislative priority for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The signatories warn that they would take legal action if the bill becomes law. The bill was passed in the House late on March 3 by a razor-thin margin.

“As introduced, the Act betrays several Constitutional deficiencies and alarming mandates that, if passed, would federalize state elections and impose burdensome costs and regulations on state and local officials,” the letter states.

The missive points to the U.S. constitution, which hands the exclusive responsibility for regulating presidential elections to state legislatures.

“The Act would invert that constitutional structure, commandeer state resources, confuse and muddle elections procedures, and erode faith in our elections and systems of governance,” the letter states. “Accordingly, Members of Congress may wish to consider the Act’s constitutional vulnerabilities as well as the policy critiques of state officials.”

The For the People Act of 2021, also known as H.R. 1, was harshly criticized by a number of speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference, over the weekend. President Donald Trump personally lambasted the bill in a speech that concluded the conference.

“We have no time to waste, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress are racing to pass a flagrantly unconstitutional attack on the first amendment and the integrity of our elections known as H.R. 1. Do you know what H.R. 1 is? It’s a disaster. Their bill would drastically restrict political speech, empower the federal government to shut down descent and turn the Federal Election Commission into a partisan political weapon,” Trump said.

The attorneys general argue that H.R. 1 would unconstitutionally force states to permit election measures like voting by mail. A number of other provisions in the bill also appear to contradict the Constitution, including a requirement for states to accept late ballots, an override of state voter identification laws, and a mandate that states conduct redistricting through unelected commissions, according to the letter.

“Despite recent calls for political unity, the Act takes a one-sided approach to governing and usurps states’ authority over elections. With confidence in elections at a record low, the country’s focus should be on building trust in the electoral process,” the letter states.

“Around the nation, the 2020 general elections generated mass confusion and distrust—problems that the Act would only exacerbate. Should the Act become law, we will seek legal remedies to protect the Constitution, the sovereignty of all states, our elections, and the rights of our citizens.”

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