I do NOT support H.R. 1 as it is currently written.
There are some clauses in this bill which I absolutely support – including most of the campaign finance and ethics clauses, but the voting clause contains some sections which I do not support. Since this is a MONSTER-sized bill I have not enumerated my position on each sub-section of the bill, but my general overview is below. As an aside, this bill is a perfect example of why Congress requires line-item veto authority – there is good stuff in each of the three main clauses, but I do not support the entire piece of legislation.
- I DO support most provisions to ease efforts to register voters – as long as the registration process requires the use of a valid Federal or State-issued photo ID with can ultimately be traced back to a social security number to confirm identity.
- I DO support greater efficiency in the election management process. However, given our level of Federal debt, any legislation which is introduced must be budget neutral – we must either:
- Identify an approved funding mechanism (additional taxes) or
- Pass offsetting cuts in other areas of the budget
- Unfortunately, as of 3/21/2021, there was no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate for HR1.
- I DO support IN-PERSON early voting opportunities – subject to the aforementioned two conditions.
- I DO NOT support any provision which will EXTEND the amount of time that it takes to obtain election results. The longer WE THE PEOPLE must wait for voting results to be tabulated and announced, the more this undermines confidence in our electoral process. To be clear, there should be absolutely NO REASON – given “normal” (non-pandemic) circumstances – states cannot provide at least an INITIAL, final count of their ballots within 48 hours after polling sites close on a Federal (presidential) general election day.
- Because mail in ballots increase the length of time to calculate results, which enables the perception that our election process is not being carried out in good faith, I DO NOT support expanding mail-in voting. To be clear, I believe voting by mail should be done on a by-exception basis, for example: for people who are homebound for medical reasons, military members serving overseas, people who live in extremely remote regions of the United States, etc. If we expand access to IN-PERSON early voting and increasing the number of polling sites available – measures which I SUPPORT – there should be little justification for mail-in ballots on anything beyond a by-exception basis.
- At the end of the day, when it comes to the voting process, I believe our Nation – and our communities – are better served when we:
- MAXIMIZE the number of people participating in our political process.
- MAXIMIZE the use of IN-PERSON voting – including EARLY VOTING – so WE THE PEOPLE are confident that EVERYONE’S identity is being verified against a valid social security number for EVERY vote which is cast.
- MAXIMIZE the speed of reporting reliable results after an election.
JUST AS IMPORTANT, this in-person ritual allows us to ENGAGE with OUR neighbors in OUR political process and should fill everyone with a sense of civic pride that we have fulfilled our minimal obligations as citizens of this great Nation.
- Campaign Finance: I support most of this section as written.
- I DO support the clause which provides the Federal Election Commission (FEC) – the body responsible for regulating campaign finance – with more teeth, because much of our Nation’s political process has been upended due to issues related to campaign finance reform and the Citizens United ruling of 2010.
- While not specifically addressed, I DO support provisions which ALLOW donations of unlimited amounts – since this associated with freedom of expression – BUT require disclosing the identities of mega-donors.
- Our constitutional republic CANNOT BE SUSTAINED if we allow a small number of individuals to have an undue influence on our electoral process. That is why I have volunteered as a signature gatherer for each of Arizona’s Outlaw Dirty Money campaigns.
- For those conservatives opposed to these types of measures, I strongly recommend reading the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s views on the importance of transparency and political donations. SPOILER ALERT: The ultra-conservative Justice Scalia was very much in favor of reducing barriers to donate while still ADVOCATING FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY, and I am very much aligned with his views.
- Ethics: I support most of this section as written.
- I DO support the support the provision for the Department of Justice to establish a foreign agent registration (FARA) unit IF the program is budget neutral – but it cannot add to the debt.
- I DO support greater regulation of lobbyists, consultants, and government contractors – but it cannot add to the debt.
- I DO support the provision on presidential and vice-presidential tax transparency.
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