AMERICAN VOTING SYSTEM; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 35
(House of Representatives - February 26, 2019)

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[Pages H2226-H2229]
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                         AMERICAN VOTING SYSTEM

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2019, the Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida (Mr. 
Yoho) for 30 minutes.
  Mr. YOHO. Madam Speaker, my colleagues and I rise today in opposition 
of H.R. 1. This bill is nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on the 
American voting system designed to allow Democrats to keep the majority 
in the House of Representatives, and I will explain and illustrate.
  As a Member of Congress, we have a responsibility to ensure that 
every American vote is counted and protected, especially because our 
democratic society relies on participation in the democratic process 
through free and fair elections. While I support efforts to involve all 
Americans in our electoral process, I cannot support this 
unconstitutional legislation.
  Madam Speaker, let me lay out for you some of the most absurd 
provisions in this legislation.
  H.R. 1 creates Federal Government subsidized elections. For the 
people watching on C-SPAN, if they don't have insomnia, I want them to 
hear that again. H.R. 1 creates Federal Government subsidized elections 
through a 6-1 ratio for government matches to small donor contributions 
for congressional or Presidential campaigns.
  For the government to give matches--subsidized elections--that means 
they are taking money from you to go to candidates, hopefully of your 
choice, but not necessarily. So the donor contributions for 
congressional or Presidential campaigns, which means for every $200 an 
individual donates, the Federal Government will take $1,200 of the 
American taxpayers' money and distribute it.
  Additionally, H.R. 1 removes the checks our current voting system has 
in place to ensure eligible voters are casting ballots by forcing 
States to accept online and same-day voter registration. I don't think 
that has ever happened before, where H.R. 1 removes the checks our 
current voting system has in place to ensure only eligible voters are 
casting vote ballots by forcing States to accept online and same-day 
voter registration with no penalties for ineligible voters.
  That means somebody could show up, an individual, and cast multiple 
ballots or votes, or vote without meeting the current requirements, and 
they will not be reprimanded. There is no recourse. Who is going to go 
after somebody after they have already cast their vote and they weren't 
an eligible

[[Page H2227]]

voter? Nobody will go after these people, so it can sway elections. 
That is what H.R. 1 does.
  By removing the consequences of illegal voting, this bill is, in 
turn, encouraging it. It should be doing the opposite. The right and 
privilege of us as American citizens to vote is something we should all 
garner and protect as American citizens. And, again, this is not a 
partisan issue, it is not Democrats or Republicans, this is an American 
issue, and I think people would be incensed on all parties.
  Additionally, this bill allows Federal employees to take 6 days of 
paid leave to be poll workers. So the American taxpayers are going to 
pay Federal workers to be poll watchers. This is something that has 
always been done voluntarily by our precinct captains, both Republican 
and Democrat, in our districts, where politics is always best locally.
  But the Federal Government wants to intervene here and say: No, we 
are going to give you guys 6 days off. How many people do you think, 
that are Federal employees, will take 6 days off of paid leave? 
Probably a lot, wouldn't you expect?
  Madam Speaker, we pay our Federal employees to do the job they were 
hired to do, not to be poll workers for our districts. That is 
something that the American voting process has done for over 200 years 
by volunteers that are passionate and care about this country.
  In fact, Federal employees already receive paid leave that they can 
take for any purpose they choose, including being poll workers. Why 
should the Federal Government pay? And I want to reword that, because 
it is not the Federal Government paying them. It is the American 
taxpayers paying money out of their paycheck that goes to the Federal 
Government that the Federal Government thinks they know better how to 
spend that money than they do. So why should the Federal Government pay 
to give them additional leave that can only be used for this purpose?
  Madam Speaker, there are just three provisions outlined in this 
almost 600-page bill, and I would venture most people will not read 
this when it comes up for a vote. And while I can further elaborate, I 
will let my colleagues share their thoughts with you.
  Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Biggs).
  Mr. BIGGS. Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for leading this 
Special Order.
  Madam Speaker, I want to speak to two specific aspects of this.
  First of all, I rise in opposition to H.R. 1, the sweeping 
unconstitutional attack on the electoral system that it represents. It 
would federalize our electoral system and usurp the authority of States 
and their citizens to manage their own elections by imposing 
unnecessary and unconstitutional restrictions that interfere with their 
fundamental democratic rights.
  H.R. 1 would restrict freedom of speech and undermine Americans' 
constitutional rights under the First Amendment by increasing the power 
of the Federal Government to regulate and control political speech.
  It would criminalize a vast range of legal activities, increase 
government censorship, and impose an enormous administrative compliance 
burden on candidates that would make it harder for everyday Americans 
to participate in our political system and even run for office.
  It would also weaken important safeguards to ensure the integrity of 
our electoral system and guarantee that every American vote is counted 
and protected. This could expose future elections to greater risk of 
cyber manipulation and mass voter fraud.
  It could limit the ability of election officials to ensure that only 
eligible voter votes are counted and cripple the effectiveness of State 
voter ID laws.
  Now, I have to speak to an issue that particularly impacts those of 
us who live in States that have independent redistricting commissions. 
I live in Arizona. Many years ago, our voters said: We don't want the 
legislature designing the congressional districts and the State 
legislative districts anymore; we want an independent redistricting 
commission, so they voted for it. So we have a five-member commission: 
two Republicans, two Democrats, and an Independent. They design the 
congressional districts.
  This bill would take that away from them. It would bring it back to 
Washington, D.C., after creating an unelected board that would then 
design these districts for States. Now, I ask you, why would that be 
better than the independent redistricting commission in Arizona that 
was approved by the Arizona voters? It doesn't make sense to me, and it 
doesn't make sense to my constituents, I can tell you that.
  We struggle enough. We struggle enough with the independent 
redistricting commission with Arizona appointees. Imagine if we have no 
connection to the appointees.
  I am also always amazed at people who don't get to Arizona and don't 
realize the vastness of that State. It is a unique State: 7 million 
people--5 million of them in one county, one metropolitan area; 1 
million in another county; and then another 1 million sprinkled 
throughout this vast State. That takes local knowledge and it takes 
local experience to create those districts, there is no doubt about it. 
The Arizona Constitution is filled with the criterion on how to 
redistrict in Arizona. This would usurp the Arizona Constitution.
  H.R. 1 is fraught with many, many problems. I have just gone through 
a couple of them for you tonight.
  Madam Speaker, I thank my friend from Florida for his leadership on 
this, his fight, and I appreciate him sharing time with me tonight.
  Mr. YOHO. Madam Speaker, I thank Mr. Biggs. I appreciate his help.
  I have got a top 10 list here--actually, it has turned into a top 11 
list--of the 10 most egregious provisions of H.R. 1.
  Again, I want to remind you that the Democrats took over at the 
beginning of the year. We are $22 trillion in debt. And they will say: 
Well, it is President Trump's fault. Well, we can say: It is President 
Obama's fault. And they will say: Well, it is President Bush's fault. 
And it can go all the way back to George Washington, I expect.
  But the fact is it is a bipartisan issue that needs to be dealt with. 
So the top 11 most egregious provisions of H.R. 1: It creates, again, a 
6-1 government match to any small donor contribution of $200 or less in 
a congressional or Presidential campaign, meaning for every $200 the 
government will match $1,200.
  So let's look at the facts. Where does that $1,200 come from? You go 
to work, you get a paycheck at the end of the week, at the end of the 
week you notice that you don't get paid your gross pay, you get paid 
your net pay. The rest of the money comes to the government and the 
government is going to use that money, when we are $22 trillion in 
debt, and give out subsidies to support, hopefully, your candidate. 
This has never happened before in our government, and we are at $22 
trillion in debt. It does nothing to solve our national debt.

                              {time}  2000

  Number two on the list: Creates a new voucher pilot program--a pilot 
program.
  And I have to hand it to the Dems. They love programs that give out 
moneys and grants, this voucher pilot program that grants eligible 
voters a $25 voucher of hard-earned taxpayer dollars to donate to any 
campaign of their choosing.
  The Federal Government has no need to do this. Again, they are taking 
money from people and using it for that which the government is not 
mandated by our Constitution to do.
  Number three: Authorizes an inappropriate use of Federal workers and 
taxpayer dollars by granting Federal employees 6 days of paid vacation 
to serve as poll watchers.
  I would venture that come election day, the largest majority of 
Federal employees for 6 days will be poll watchers and not running the 
government. This is just bad policy.
  Number four: Weakens the voting system of the American people by 
increasing the election system's vulnerability and failing to implement 
the necessary checks and balances regarding who is registering to vote. 
H.R. 1 will force States to allow online voter registration, automatic 
voter registration, and, I think the most dangerous and egregious, 
same-day voter registration.
  So that means I can show up in Florida, my home State, and I can 
register to vote that day. I can drive to Georgia

[[Page H2228]]

and register to vote that day. I can go to Alabama, Louisiana, North 
Carolina, South Carolina, and I can possibly vote in every one of those 
States, because the driving distance, I could make that.
  So I could vote in possibly seven or eight States as a single person 
on the day of voting. Nobody could validate that. Yet the election gets 
calculated and determined on those kinds of voting, and I don't think 
that is what anybody wants.
  I would hope, regardless of your political affiliation, you would 
stand up to say this is wrong. We need to make sure these safeguards 
are in place to protect that one very, I think, sacred, precious right 
of all voters, of all American citizens, the right to vote.
  Number five: Diminishes the process of election day voting by 
expanding ``no excuse'' absentee voting and allowing for eligible 
voters to be able to cast their ballot by mail with no additional 
safeguards to this process.
  That means provisional ballots that get sent in, their signature 
can't be questioned. It doesn't need to be questioned. It doesn't have 
to be the correct signature, but it will be counted as a vote.
  I would think a party that put that in place would be afraid of that, 
because it really weakens the democratic process we go through as a 
constitutional republic.
  Number six: Disregards State voter identification laws by allowing 
sworn statements to be used in place of identification and allowing for 
signature verification, which can be submitted through a photo if the 
voter registers online.
  Let me read that again.
  Disregards State voter identification laws by allowing sworn 
statements to be used in place of identification and allowing for 
signature verification, which can be submitted through a photo if the 
voter registers online.
  Now, think about that. I can't get on an airplane without a picture 
ID. I can't purchase medication, over-the-counter cold medication with 
phenylephrine in it, without a picture ID, but we are going to allow 
people to vote without a picture ID just by signing an affidavit saying 
I am who I say I am. And, again, that won't be verified until after the 
election.
  It has fraud written all over it, and I think it is unconscionable 
that the Democrats would even consider such a thing on something that 
we hold so sacred in this Nation, that we brag about and we boast about 
in the world as being the longest serving democracy in the world using 
a democratic process in a constitutional republic, that we are going to 
allow such shoddy type of verification.
  Again, it is unconscionable that they would even consider bringing 
this up.
  Number seven: Fails to criminalize fraudulent registrations.
  Fails to criminalize fraudulent registrations. We have people going 
to jail because they have lied to the FBI. We have George Papadopoulos 
who lied to the FBI, and he went to prison for 14 days. But I can lie 
and not be who I say I am, and I can vote on this Democratic bill, H.R. 
1, and I have no recourse against me. There is no consequence for me 
being a liar.
  And I just think a party that wants to have those kinds of policies 
in place as a whole needs to look in the mirror and say: What are we 
trying to do?
  Number eight: Impedes States' ability to determine their registration 
and voting practices as protected under Article I, Section 4 of the 
Constitution and violates separation of powers by Congress mandating 
ethics standards for the Supreme Court. H.R. 1 is a constitutional 
overreach.
  Number eight: Impedes States' ability to determine their registration 
voting practices as protected, as I said, under Article I, Section 4.
  Number nine: Violates constitutional rights under the First Amendment 
by prohibiting any false statements relating to Federal elections, 
including time, manner, place, qualifications of candidates, or 
endorsements of candidates enforced by a partisan FEC, which is the 
Federal Elections Committee.
  Number 10: Empowers trial attorneys by establishing private rights of 
action by allowing candidates to litigate their way to victory.
  We saw this in the last Presidential election. We saw this in the 
last gubernatorial election in my State of Florida. We saw this in the 
senatorial race in Florida, where people were going to sue, and they 
didn't have the legality of doing that, but this bill would allow that.

  And I think one of the largest grievances for H.R. 1 that all people 
ought to be upset with is that it mandates voter registration--mandates 
voter registration. What that means is the Federal Government says you 
must register to vote.
  I agree, we should all register to vote, but can the government 
mandate you?
  We tried this with the Affordable Care Act that the Democrats ran 
through in a partisan manner in this Chamber, no Republican support, 
mandated that people had to buy a product even if they didn't want 
that.
  Madam Speaker, that is wrong, and that is why that part got struck 
down, the individual mandate got struck down, as it should have, 
because the Federal Government was saying: If you don't do what we say, 
we are going to fine you.
  You know, that sounds like China. China does that. They have their 
good citizen score, the Orwellian good citizen score that they monitor 
what you do, and if you don't do it, you don't get the prizes of the 
Chinese Government. Are we turning into that, mandating voters to 
register?
  Last Congress, I chaired the Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation 
Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs. And it was amazing because I got to 
travel to countries around the world that have just started free and 
open elections in a Western, democratic style. It pains me to see these 
countries with a new democracy where 95 percent to 98 percent of the 
people show up.
  If you look at Iraq or Afghanistan, they are walking around with the 
purple finger at risk of their lives, because for once in their life 
they had an opportunity to vote, to vote for somebody that they wanted 
in power--a foreign concept to them. Yet in this country, we want to 
take that away from people.
  As we continue on, there are some myths on H.R. 1.
  It has been designed to fund, elect, and maintain Democratic 
majority, and I want the American people to know that. The Democrats 
introduced this 571-page package of Democratic priorities without 
allowing for input from Republican Members or going through the 
standard House Committee.
  This is something that they railed against us. All the 6 years I have 
been in Congress, they have railed against us about no open process, 
yet they come out with a 571-page package of Democratic priorities 
without allowing for input from one Republican Member.
  H.R. 1 will waste taxpayers' money, federalize the election system, 
weaken safeguards surrounding voter registration, and violate 
Americans' constitutional right to free speech under the First 
Amendment.
  The estimated cost of this that we got for H.R. 1, because of all the 
subsidies and the other garbage that is in this, is over $10 billion to 
the American taxpayers--$10 billion--when we are already at $22 
trillion in debt.
  I would like to go through a few myths.
  Democrats are empowering citizens. That is the myth. The facts are 
Democrats are using citizens' hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund 
their candidates:
  Voucher from the government to the campaign: Through this bill, 
eligible voters would receive a $25 voucher from the Federal Government 
that they can use to donate to the campaign of their choice, meaning 
hard-earned taxpayer dollars are going to be going to the government, 
to their campaign of choice;
  Government matching campaign donations in congressional races: Under 
H.R. 1, the Federal Government will be required to match small 
contributions under $200 at 6 to 1. Taxpayer dollars will be going to 
the government to fund candidates;
  Government matching campaign donations in Presidential races: Also, 
under H.R. 1, there is a 6-to-1 government match of small contributions 
in a Presidential campaign, up to $250 million. A quarter of $1 billion 
would be going towards the Presidential campaign, and there is no limit 
to contributions.

[[Page H2229]]

  Another Democrat myth: Democrats are promoting integrity. The facts 
are Democrats are promoting the interests of Washington, D.C., swamp, 
not yours:
  Federal paid vacations: Federal workers would get a 6-day paid 
vacation to serve as poll watchers;
  16-year-old voters: H.R. 1 will open the door to 16-year-old voters 
by requiring States to allow them to register and vote;
  Free speech violation: Prohibits any false statements related to 
Federal elections, including time, manner, place, qualifications, 
candidates, or endorsement.
  And I want to go back over this one other myth. Democrats are 
creating vulnerabilities in the voting system:
  Automatic voter registration--automatic voter registration, mandates 
from the Federal Government, boy, how the Dems like that--requires all 
States to adopt an automatic voter registration system that would be 
relying on the Federal Government for records. There would be no 
criminal punishment for an ineligible voter who is registered in error.

  Madam Speaker, as you have heard, my colleagues and I have severe 
concerns about H.R. 1. While my colleagues on the other side of the 
aisle are marketing it as a fix to the American voting system, what it 
really does is degrade the standards we have had in place for over 200 
years to protect American voters and the voting process.
  As Members in Congress, we have the responsibility to ensure that 
every American has the right to vote and the access to vote and that 
that vote is guaranteed and protected. H.R. 1 does not do this, and I 
encourage my colleagues to consider this implication and not support 
this bill.
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

                          ____________________