Hyde-Smith slams expansive Democrat election reform plan

Published 5:00 pm Wednesday, March 24, 2021

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), of Brookhaven, Wednesday issued a strong condemnation of an expansive Democrat election reform, redistricting and campaign finance scheme that would upend Mississippi’s Voter ID law and impose a one-size-fits-all federalization of elections on the state.

Hyde-Smith blasted S.1, the Democrats’ election reform bill, at a Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing. She also participated in a news conference to denounce the measure, which is a companion measure to a House-passed bill opposed on a bipartisan basis by the entire Mississippi congressional delegation.

“The legislation before us today would nullify Mississippi’s successful voter ID law. Under S.1, in a federal election, an individual could walk into a polling place, register and vote on the spot, without ever showing any proof of identity or residency,” Hyde-Smith said. “I am totally against this and will fight it every day. We need to have confidence that our vote counts and that there’s one person for one vote.”

S.1 would revoke all voter identification laws by prohibiting states from requiring voter identification as a condition of obtaining an absentee ballot for federal elections and require states to accept a sworn affidavit in lieu of voter identification at the polling place.

Hyde-Smith asked witnesses how allowing individuals to register and vote in a federal election without ever confirming their identity or residency would lead to further undermining voter confidence.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita responded, “If you don’t couple that improvement of the voting process, like using technology, with individual responsibility and accountability, then all you’re doing is making it easier to cheat. So where the Help America Vote Act was ‘yes, let’s make it easier to vote and harder to cheat,’ this bill is ‘let’s make it easier to cheat,’ period.”

Hyde-Smith also addressed the S.1 provisions authorizing government financing of political campaigns and their effect on the national debt and their threat to rights of conscience and freedom of speech. The bill would, among many other things, expand the definition of what’s covered by the Federal Election Campaign Act to include any paid internet or paid digital communication.

“Putting the government on the hook to pay for political campaigns is a step toward further unnecessary spending and further debt at a time when we need to be getting our fiscal house in order,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Second, I am concerned that this program will effectively force Americans to subsidize speech that is fundamentally against their beliefs. For example, pro-life Americans will have to pay, through their tax dollars, for ads promoting candidates who support abortion on demand.”

In addition to lack of voter identification requirements, other issues within the election law bill that Hyde-Smith calls problematic include:

  • Changes to voter registration, early voting, and voting systems.
  • Restrictions on how states maintain the integrity of their voter rolls.
  • Requires states to implement no-excuse mail-in ballots.
  • Legalizes ballot harvesting in every state.
  • Forces states to allow felons to vote in federal elections.
  • Implements major changes to the campaign finance system, including politicizing the Federal Election Commission.
  • Creates judicial review for matters where the FEC has found no violation of campaign finance law.