Buchanan: Dangers of the "For the People Act"
I write today to offer my opinion on recent legislation before Congress. H.R. 1, legislation monikered deceptively as the “For The People Act,” sets a dangerous precedent for the usurpation of state sovereignty. I posit that its name is misleading because it does not seek to protect our elections and, if our elections are not secure, they are no good “for the people.”
H.R. 1 would greatly burden Wyoming’s ability to run accurate, efficient, and secure elections. Specifically, this legislation would interfere with our ability to: determine the qualifications of our voters, ensure the accuracy of our voter registration rolls, secure our elections process in a way that meets Wyoming’s needs, ensure participation of our voters in the electoral process and determine the district boundary lines of our representatives. H.R. 1 makes the assumption that elections can be run through a “one size fits all” method; however, nothing could be further from the truth. This bill contains requirements that would not work in Wyoming, both from practical and constitutional perspectives. The way we run elections in Wyoming is fundamentally different than the election process in other states. What works in Wyoming would not necessarily work in California, or Louisiana; and vice versa. The ability for each state to run its elections to best suit their citizens allows our system to remain decentralized, flexible and nimble to accomplish great things in very little time without federal interference or mandates. In fact, this decentralization is one of the key ways to thwart fraud.
Laws such as H.R. 1 would prohibit Wyoming from passing legislation that we believe is best for our state, similar to Wyoming HEA 72 Voter Identification, which was signed into law this month. HEA 72 aims to deter fraud at the polls through the use of voter identification. The “Voter ID’ legislation passed this session by the Wyoming Legislature is the culmination of several sessions of work by the Legislature to pass a bill of this nature. It is a proactive effort to keep Wyoming’s elections among the elite in the areas of security and transparency. Conversely, H.R.1 would require Wyoming to undertake a universal mail-in ballot election, something that is prohibited by our state constitution.
I communicated my concerns to our Congressional Delegation about the dangers of this bill and they agree with my position. I will fight this bill vigorously and have offered to testify before Congress, as needed. I have offered my efforts, along with those of many other secretaries of state, to fight H.R.1 and its companion legislation, S1, before the Senate. And should it become law, will support efforts to stop it in the courts.
I am grateful for the trust that Wyoming’s citizens have placed in me to carry out the duties of the Secretary of State. I remain dedicated to ensuring the people of Wyoming can freely exercise their right to vote in a state that continues to exemplify safe and secure elections.