ICYMI: PILF Testified to Senate Judiciary Committee on Proposed Voting Legislation

S. 4 Would Put Partisan Bureaucrats in Total Control of Elections

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) Litigation Counsel, Maureen Riordan testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (S. 4).

S. 4 would allow partisan bureaucrats at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to micromanage changes to polling places, voting hours, voter ID, registration requirements, and every single imaginable scenario for state and local elections.

A key moment from the hearing included the Democrat invited witnesses refusing to support citizenship verification to ensure that only U.S. citizens are voting in American elections. Watch highlights from the hearing below. 

In prepared remarks, PILF’s Maureen Riordan argued that S. 4 would give radical bureaucrats at the Department of Justice total control over our elections.

“If passed, the proposed Act will once again give tremendous power over the election procedures of every state and locality to partisan bureaucrats within the Voting Section.”

Riordan noted that bureaucrats in the DOJ Voting Section have abused this power in the past and have even been sanctioned by federal courts.

“The Voting Section has a long record of abuse by its lawyers. Their improper collaboration while reviewing Section 5 submissions has been sanctioned by courts. Between 1993 and 2000, the Voting Section has been sanctioned $2,358,687.31.”

Under S. 4, Riordan noted that the DOJ would have to approve nearly every single change to our elections.

“The proposed practice-based preclearance triggers will require most electoral changes to be submitted despite the inconsequential nature of the change. For example, a polling place change does not just include a change in physical address. It includes any change to the polling place. If a polling place is moved from the high school gym to its cafeteria, the change must be submitted for pre-clearance.”

In conclusion, Riordan argued that in the last 11 years, the DOJ has only brought 9 Section 2 lawsuits, proving there is not blatant discrimination that requires this type of federal power grab of our elections.

“Permanent provisions of the Voting Rights Act such as the current version of Section 2 still prohibit discrimination and provide the Justice Department with the ability to challenge election procedures. Since the Shelby County decision in 2013, the Department has only brought 9 Section 2 lawsuits. That’s not even 1 a year. If rampant discrimination in voting exists why has DOJ not brought cases challenging these ills?”

Watch the full Senate Judiciary Committee hearing here.

Public Interest Legal Foundation