Republicans’ New Federal Bill Takes Aim At Defunding Bad Election Practices

By Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano
Freelance reporter
Alice Giordano is a freelance reporter for The Epoch Times. She is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and the New England bureau of The New York Times.
January 31, 2023Updated: January 31, 2023

Republicans have introduced federal legislation that would block millions of dollars in election assistance money from being sent to states that allow unvetted voters and illegal immigrants to participate in elections.

The bill also targets a list of other common practices blamed for compromising the credibility of elections in America—including lax drop box standards for mail-in and absentee ballots.

“Taxpayers should not subsidize election practices that facilitate voter fraud and undermine that confidence,” said Virginia Congressman Bob Good, the bill’s primary sponsor.

Characterized as a defunding bill, the One Citizen One Vote Act seeks to withhold money from the more than $10 billion that sits directly under the control of the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC), a federal agency that is in charge of funneling money to states for the use for a variety of election costs—including replacing voting machines and hiring election staff.

arizona audit
Ballots cast and machines used in the 2020 election are examined by auditors hired by the Arizona Senate at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Ariz., on April 29, 2021. (Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP)

The EAC budget, which has become extremely well endowed under the Biden administration, is also earmarked as a financial helping hand for states, municipalities, and other voting precincts to come into compliance with new standards as they are set under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). That is a federal law born out of the infamous 2000 presidential election fiasco in Florida.

Some election reform pundits hail the defunding idea as a “neutral” opportunity to stop “dead people” voting in elections, keeping claims of election fraud out of the hands of politically-motivated judges, and close voter registration loopholes used by illegal immigrants to vote in U.S. elections.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Hans von Spakovsky, a current member of the Presidential Advisory Commission who also heads up the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative.

“Because it’s not Congress taking over the election process, which is what the Democrats wanted to do with H.R.1.

Controversial Proposals

“It’s just saying if you are doing things that damage the integrity of your election process, we’re not going to give you federal money to help you do that.”

Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Elections Committee, is referring to the 2021 House bill also known as the For the People Act, which among its controversial proposals includes a call to not reign in—but to expand—unvetted voting by creating online voter registration options, along with increasing early voting and even a provision to provide prepaid postage for mail-in voting. It died in the Senate.

Spakovsky whose lengthy resume on election reform also includes his tenure as expert legal counsel to the U.S. Justice Department on HAVA and other federal codes including the Voting Rights Act, says the irony behind the erosion of voter integrity, is born out of the very federal laws passed to preserve it—including HAVA, the start of the federal government getting into the business of funding state and local elections.

With that start came the replacement of what was perceived as draconian paper ballots and on-the-ground checks and balances, with what was touted as sophisticated ballot machines and software that would streamline and expedite election results.

Evidence of Spakovsky’s claim that such “improvements” have been counterproductive has rung true with more than two decades worth of complaints about modern voting machines now being outdated and allegations of impropriety behind software updates made to them.

In October, two members of the election integrity watchdog group True the Vote, including its founder, were ordered jailed by a federal judge in a civil case involving allegations the organization made against election software giant Konnech relative to U.S. election information found stored by the company on servers in China.

Unprecedented Jailing

Konnech sells its elections management software called PollChief across the United States under sizable contracts including a $2.9 million one with the city of Los Angeles, which is where a judge jailed True to the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips for refusing to identify the name of an informant.

Following their release, Engelbrecht, in an appearance on Epoch Times TV, pointed out that their unprecedented jailing came within just a week before the midterm elections when True Vote was readying to implement monitoring measures at the polls.

“It absolutely took us off the wheel,” she said.

The One Citizen One Vote bill comes on the heels of a windfall of election integrity controversies, some with more notoriety than others.

It also follows an in-depth Election and Fraud report completed by the Heritage Foundation that created a database of election fraud-related criminal convictions from town elections to federal elections dating as far back as 2000 up to 2022.

The report shows there has been a dramatic increase in the number of election fraud-related criminal convictions in the past couple of years with at least one conviction in every state.

Proof of Citizenship

Spakovsky says Congress also needs to tackle the court’s chronic misinterpretation of existing laws such as the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which he says actually requires Voter ID even though judges have ruled it is not required.

“[The] easiest way to solve that problem is for Congress to simply amend NVRA to clarify that states can require proof of citizenship to vote,” he said.

Democrats have vehemently argued that voter identification requirements as called by Republicans are a transparently discriminatory tactic to keep minorities from casting votes in elections.

Spakovsky, who has been accused by Democrats in the past himself of being part of a right-wing conspiracy to promote election fraud disinformation, says the irony of the argument is that the call for voter identification actually traces back to recommendations born out of a report from the National Election Commission under the direction of Democratic President Jimmy Carter’s administration and that HAVA reforms were born out of a race lost by Democrat Al Gore to Republican George Bush.

Pulling the race card to squelch identification requirements, he says, is an effective way to disguise what he says is a genuine problem—noncitizen voting.

Spakovsky points out that one of the acceptable documents on the federal I-9 tax forms to prove U.S. citizenship or legal eligibility for employment is a voter registration card—which can be filled online, printed out, and mailed in without any vetting whatsoever.

“So if I’m an illegal alien, the first thing I’m going to do when I get into the country is register to vote,” he said.