This editorial ran in the Topeka Capital-Journal on July 9, 2021.
Voting in the United States should be fair, accessible and secure. Though these beliefs are widely accepted among Americans, how we improve the fairness, accessibility and security of elections matters greatly.
The Democrat-led bill to reform voting in America — the “For the People Act” commonly referred to as S.1 — does not take into account that state election procedures are the product of a more localized, more representative government.
Kansans know what is best for them better than Washington politicians and unelected bureaucrats who do not know the difference between Johnson City and Johnson County.
However, instead of relying upon participation in more localized state legislatures to set elections procedures, Democrats in Washington want a federalized election system, which dilutes the rights of individual Kansans in the name of national uniformity — no matter the cost.
And there will be a literal cost. Under S.1, taxpayer dollars would be used to fund political campaigns by matching campaign donations for candidates to federal office — even ones whose policy positions they vehemently oppose.
The matching rate is a striking 6:1 for every donated dollar. That is a 600% match from the federal government for donations, up to $200.
Additionally, S.1 would impose a massive increase on election costs by mandating increased early voting dates and hours in rural counties and for mail-ballot only elections. This bill effectively removes local control by imposing mandates on our rural counties — many of which cannot afford these burdensome, unrealistic changes to election administration.
Local election officials throughout Kansas work diligently to administer safe, secure, and trustworthy elections. These federal mandates would be virtually impossible for Kansas counties to comply with and would threaten the security of our election processes.
There is a litany of other conspicuous requirements contained in S.1, which demand unearthing. Among them are provisions to reform the structure of the bipartisan, six-seat Federal Elections Commission to a partisan five-member panel, override duly elected state legislatures by mandating the restoration of voting rights for felons, undermine state identification laws and interfere with Kansas’ ability to verify its voter registration rolls.
The For the People Act would nearly eliminate state government involvement in elections while sowing immense doubt about the integrity and administration of our elections.
At a time when our country is so divided, we should be working together to advance the goals of our country — not enacting hyper partisan election legislation that would cut the Kansas Legislature and governor out of our democratic process.