On Tuesday, the Democrats’ bill to federalize elections failed. Our constitutional republic was the big winner.
S. 1 fell short of the 60-vote threshold required. Thank goodness for the filibuster. The proposal was a revolutionary rearrangement of the American political system. It was designed to help the institutional Left win elections. It would have banned voter ID, mandated same-day registration, and vastly increased the problem of chronic inaccuracy in state voter rolls.
Yesterday’s vote was a huge step in defeating S. 1. However, we should not celebrate too soon.
The Left remains obsessed with killing the filibuster. Democrats hate the original constitutional design through which a broad consensus of states must agree before a proposal can pass the Senate. That design preserves liberty, and its dislike of liberty defines the modern Left.
Democrats have another federal takeover bill on deck, H.R. 4, or the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. This bill is even worse than S. 1.
It would put partisan bureaucrats at the Department of Justice in control of every single aspect of elections. If a polling place moved from the school gym to the school cafeteria, Justice Department bureaucrats would have to approve it.
When I was at the Justice Department, I saw this abuse of power firsthand. In one instance, the DOJ blocked an annexation of one family into the town of North, South Carolina. Why? Because they were white and would add two white voters. Yes, even annexations are covered.
In another case, the DOJ blocked Kinston, North Carolina, from moving from partisan to nonpartisan elections for Town Council. That was also blocked. Why? Because, the DOJ said plainly, if the word “Democrat” was not on the ballot, black voters would not know for whom to vote.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Power is best left close to the people, not with the swamp. People do not want radical leftists micromanaging elections.
Any form of a federal election takeover is unacceptable. It undoes our original constitutional agreement that states would run their own elections. Without this arrangement, we very may well not have had a union at all.
Rust never sleeps, and the Left has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into dismantling our original constitutional architecture governing elections. We should rejoice that we have stopped a federal takeover of elections for now, but the fight to stop the federal takeover of elections is far from over.
J. Christian Adams is the president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a former Justice Department attorney, and current commissioner on the United States Commission for Civil Rights.